Hurricane Delta, now a Category 3 storm, is threatening to hit Louisiana Friday evening, apparently in the same southwestern part of the state where Hurricane Laura roared ashore six weeks ago.
Residents prepared by filling sandbags and boarding up windows for the sixth time in the last several months. Evacuations were underway.
"It is very clear that Southwest Louisiana is going to get more of a punch from this than we would like to see, for sure, because we're still trying to recover from Hurricane Laura," Governor John Bel Edwards said Thursday.
The National Hurricane Center warned that a "life-threatening storm surge" of up to 11 feet is possible in some places.
On Wednesday, the hurricane barreled through the Mexican resort areas of Cozumel and Cancun, where it caused some streets to collapse andto 266,000 homes and businesses.
Delta continues unrelenting path toward Louisiana
Forecasters said Delta - the 25th named storm of an unprecedented Atlantic hurricane season - would likely crash ashore Friday evening somewhere on southwest Louisiana's coast. The question was whether it would remain at devastating Category 3 strength, with top winds of 120 mph early Friday, or drop just before landfall to a still extremely dangerous Category 2 storm.
Either way, people in the battered coastal region were taking Delta seriously.
"You can always get another house another car but not another life," said Hilton Stroder as he and his wife Terry boarded up their Abbeville home with plans to head to their son's house further east.
As of 5 a.m. EDT Friday, Delta was about 200 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana and heading due north at 12 mph.
Forecasters continue to eye likely storm surge
As Hurricane Delta continues its steady march toward an expected Friday evening landfall over Louisiana, National Hurricane Center forecasters continue to warn that a "life-threatening" storm surge of up to 11 feet is possible in some areas.
The highest surge "is expected somewhere between Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge and Morgan City, Louisiana," the center says.
It adds that Delta could bring rainfall of five-to-ten inches in many places, with isolated inundations of up to fifteen inches.
As of 2 a.m. EDT Friday, Delta was about 250 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana and heading north-northwest at 12 mph. It was packing 120 mph sustained winds, making it a dangerous Category 3 storm.
Hurricane Delta strengthens as it approaches Louisiana
Hurricane Delta had maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour as of 10:00 p.m. CDT, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm was about 285 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana, and was moving at about 12 mph.
The storm may strengthen slightly overnight, but is expected to weaken as it approaches the northern Gulf Coast, the hurricane center said.
"You just can't take the chance": Louisiana residents evacuate ahead of Hurricane Delta
As Hurricane Delta nears the Gulf Coast, Louisiana families are evacuating yet another hurricane this year.
Warren Grisso told CBS affiliate KLFY that he expected the storm to strike in his area. "I had a feeling after Marco, Sally and Laura that the next one would be coming right on top of us which looks like it is," he said.
Grisso said he and his family are evacuating and leaving everything behind. "It's just one of those things. Mother Nature picks her spot, now she's gonna send her the bullseye," he said.
Another resident said he and his family are also evacuating. Even though their home wasn't damaged by Hurricane Laura, he told the outlet that the risk was too high.
"You just can't take the chance, you know, because of the weather and the kids," said Dev Simon.
Rough seas documented near Hurricane Delta
The National Hurricane Center tweeted the following image taken earlier Thursday night that shows "rough seas near Hurricane Delta."
They said the latest reported wave height was nearly 29 feet:
Louisiana's Acadiana-area parishes urging evacuations ahead of Hurricane Delta
CBS affiliate KLFY-TV of Lafayette, Louisiana, has published a list of evacuation orders in the Acadiana region:
- Acadia Parish: voluntary evacuation
- St. Martin Parish: voluntary evacuation
- Jeff Davis Parish: mandatory evacuation
- Vermilion Parish: mandatory evacuation
- Iberia Parish: voluntary evacuation
- South of the Intracoastal Waterway: mandatory evacuation
- St. Landry Parish: voluntary evacuation
- Lafayette Parish: voluntary evacuation
Hurricane Delta could spawn tornadoes in New Orleans
New Orleans is well to the east of the projected landfall area and was expected to escape the worst of Hurricane Delta. But tropical storm force winds were still likely in the city Friday. And city officials said they were preparing for the possibility of tornadoes being spawned by the storm.
"Tornadoes are going to be a threat here," Lauren Nash of the National Weather Service said Thursday during a news conference with Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other city officials. Nash said tornadoes are a danger northeast of the storm's center. "Tornadoes in hurricanes can form very quickly and usually will stay on the ground for only a few minutes."
Tyrell Morris, the administrator for the city's emergency call system, said that's one reason staffing would be increased Friday. "Just a single instance of a tornado, even for just a few seconds, could overwhelm the 911 system," Morris said.
NOAA shows lightning in latest satellite view of Hurricane Delta
NOAA's GOES-16 satellite picked up this incredible view of Hurricane Delta on Thursday night.
Millions brace for Hurricane Delta to hit the Gulf Coast
Millions along the Gulf Coast are bracing for Hurricane Delta. It's expected to make landfall in Louisiana Friday afternoon as the record fourth named storm to hit the area this season – and there's fear Delta could destroy the few remaining homes that the others didn't.
Thousands of residents in Lake Charles, Louisiana, are being told to get out now. Many schools and businesses are shutting down as cars crowd the city's escape routes. The city is still recovering from Hurricane Laura, the Category 4 storm that hit just six weeks ago.
This is the fifth time Louisiana has been under a state of emergency this hurricane season. Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter told CBS News that he's worried debris leftover from Hurricane Laura could turn into projectiles when Delta hits.
The city has collected more than one-and-a-half million cubic yards but isn't done yet.
Hurricane forces college football games to move or reschedule
The No. 17 LSU Tigers will now face the unranked Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Missouri, on Saturday over the threat of Hurricane Delta. The game was originally scheduled for 9 p.m. ET in Baton Rouge, but will now be played at 12 p.m. ET.
"Due to the pending impact of Hurricane Delta on Louisiana and the surrounding area, it is in the best interest for the safety of everyone involved to move the game to Columbia," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement.
"It was critical to relocate the game to an SEC campus where SEC COVID-19 management protocols are in place and readily applied," he added. "I appreciate the cooperation of the schools who are working closely to make the appropriate operational adjustments in order to prioritize the health and safety of our student-athletes while accommodating this change in the schedule."
Meanwhile, kickoff times have been changed for matchups between No. 2 Alabama and unranked Ole Miss, with the game pushed from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET. "The change in start time was made to provide a forecast for better game conditions," the SEC said in a statement.
Delta strengthens to a Category 3 storm
Hurricane Delta has strengthened to a Category 3 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters said additional strengthening is possible Thursday night, with some weakening as the storm approaches the northern Gulf Coast on Friday.
Mayor of Port Arthur, Texas, issues disaster declaration
Thurman Bartie, mayor of Port Arthur, Texas, has signed a declaration of disaster ahead of Hurricane Delta. His declaration notes the city could face the threat of "widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property."
The declaration also allows the city to activate its emergency management plan.
The National Weather Service said tropical storm conditions are expected in the area on Friday, with hurricane conditions possible. They said between 2-3 inches of new rainfall is possible.
The mayor said flooding is possible in Sabine Pass in Port Arthur, and Delta is expected to land in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, on Friday afternoon or evening, according to a local report.
Red Cross offers tips for residents as hurricane approaches the Gulf Coast
The American Red Cross is providing tips to those in Hurricane Delta's path: Listen to local radio or TV stations for information, be prepared to evacuate and don't forget to pack hand sanitizer in your emergency kit. They say the storm is expected to "produce a dangerous storm surge and close to a foot of rain."
Residents across East Texas into Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi should be on alert, they said. The Red Cross said to "find a safe place to stay" and to listen to local officials for guidance. They urged people to bring along face masks, prescriptions, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, toiletries and important documents.
They also noted that more than 500 disaster workers are in Louisiana and the Red Cross is preemptively sending shelter and relief supplies along the Gulf Coast. Other tips they suggested include: Getting your home ready, don't forget about your pets, fill your car's gas tank and stay indoors to avoid any dangerous floodwater.
American tourists trapped after Hurricane Delta strikes Mexico
Hurricane Delta has battered Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula overnight as a Category 2 storm, blasting down trees and knocking power out across the resort area and trapping Americans there on vacation.
In nearby Cancun, daylight revealed downed power lines, massive debris fields and trees toppled onto cars. Tourists had jammed into the airport Tuesday night, trying to get out ahead of the storm.
Those who couldn't escape, like Russel Ditalo and his family, rode out the storm, crowded in a shelter with hundreds of others.
"We're in a pandemic right now and knowing that we're going to have close quarters this whole entire time, (we're) trying to figure out exactly how we were going to do what we could for our family," Ditalo said.
Trump approves Louisiana's emergency declaration
President Trump has approved Louisiana's emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Delta's landfall, the White House announced Wednesday. The authorization allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security to coordinate disaster relief efforts in the state as they see fit.
"Already, we are coordinating with our federal partners to respond, as we have been since the start of the COVID pandemic in March and through several tropical events, including the devastation of Hurricane Laura in Southwest Louisiana," Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement, according to CBS affiliate WAFB-TV. "All Louisianans should use today to prepare for Hurricane Delta, heeding the direction of their local leaders when it comes to evacuations."
The hurricane is expected to make landfall Friday on Louisiana's coast as a Category 2 storm.
National Hurricane Center predicts significant flash flooding
The state of Louisiana is bracing itself ahead of Hurricane Delta. The storm is expected to Louisiana's coast on Friday as a Category 2 storm, bringing life-threatening storm surge. On Wednesday, Delta left Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula but has since strengthened back to a major storm. The storm surge and flash flood warnings will be especially dangerous in parts of the Gulf Coast that are still recovering from the damage of Hurricane Laura.
According to the National Hurricane Center, a storm surge warning is in effect from High Island, Texas, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which will continue to remain a high risk even as the storm decreases in intensity. The size of Hurricane Delta will also spread hurricane-force winds into Friday night. Local residents in the storm's path are advised to follow instructions from officials and evacuate when necessary.
Hurricane Delta bears striking resemblance to the Atlantic's most intense hurricane on record
Hurricane Delta strengthened at an incredible rate: more than 85 mph over 24 hours, reaching Category 4 on Tuesday before dropping back down to a Category 2. It was the fastest rate of intensification in the Caribbean since Hurricane Wilma in 2005 when that storm went from 75 mph to 185 mph in just 24 hours time.
Delta's rapid intensification is no coincidence. Memorable storms like this season's Hurricane Laura, and past season storms like Michael and Harvey, have done the same. Over the past few decades, rapid intensification has been increasing by about 3 to 4 mph per decade due to hotter waters from human-caused climate change. That means a system in 1980 that may have intensified by 40 mph in 24 hours might now intensify at 55 mph in 24 hours.
But Delta is looking especially similar to Wilma, the most intense storm on record in the Atlantic. And it could similarly have a catastrophic impact.
Delta is forming in the exact same place as Wilma, over a pool of the hottest water in the Northern Hemisphere. It is also forming at the same time of year, and both storm's eyes are tiny, "pin-hole" eyes.