BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - With Gamma already spinning in the southern Gulf and the Caribbean’s Tropical Storm Delta getting upgraded to a hurricane Monday night, we received a double reminder that we’re still a long way from the close of the 2020 Hurricane Season.
Delta is the 25th named storm of the season, arriving more than seven weeks earlier than the 25th named storm (Gamma) in the hyperactive 2005 season, the only other season to require the use of the Greek alphabet. With a forecast that ensures a tenth U.S. landfall in 2020, Delta will break the current record of nine U.S. landfalls set in 1916. Delta will also be the sixth U.S. landfall in the Gulf, matching the number in 2005.
Yet far more importantly, Delta appears to be on a track for the Louisiana coast and it’s likely to be a hurricane at landfall. The latest forecast for Delta brings the system from the Caribbean into the Gulf either late Tuesday or early Wednesday, with a potential Louisiana landfall Friday morning. The latest forecast has Delta reaching Category 2 intensity by Wednesday morning and while it’s not in the official NHC forecast, it’s certainly in the realm of possibilities that Delta could become a major hurricane.
The system was upgraded to a hurricane as of Monday night’s 7 p.m. advisory from the NHC.
The same NHC forecast shows modest weakening of Delta as it approaches the Louisiana coast, but at this stage, Delta could still be at Category 2 intensity at landfall.
While there’s still some uncertainty in the forecast over the next four days, the model consensus is focused on the central Gulf Coast, mainly from the Louisiana/Texas line to the western section of the Florida Panhandle.
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As for Gamma, some uncertainty remains, but the general thinking is this storm will slide into the Yucatan and may simply fizzle out as Delta passes by. As of the 10 p.m. advisory from the NHC, Gamma was downgraded to a post-tropical system.
Our local forecast is a good one for the next day or so. Everyone wakes up to clear skies Tuesday, with Red Stick temperatures in the upper 50°s at daybreak. Sunny skies in the morning will give way to partly cloudy skies in the afternoon, with highs in the low to mid 80°s. The Storm Team can’t rule out an afternoon shower or two, mainly for the southern half of the viewing area. However, with Tuesday’s rain chances set at just 10%, the vast majority of the area will stay dry.
Gulf humidity makes a definite return Wednesday, with a morning start in the middle and upper 60°s for much of the viewing area. Wednesday afternoon will be partly cloudy with highs in the mid to upper 80°s. In addition, add isolated afternoon showers to Wednesday’s forecast so that most of the area stays dry.
Obviously, the local forecast for Thursday and Friday is heavily dependent upon Delta’s future. Assuming the system is indeed headed for Louisiana, the Storm Team has rain likely Thursday and Friday, with daytime highs in the upper 70°s to low 80°s.
Into the weekend, the Storm Team has rain chances at 20% to 30% for Saturday, with highs in the low 80°s, followed by isolated afternoon showers Sunday with highs in the mid 80°s. Depending on Delta’s final track, those rain chances could come down to near zero.
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