BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Hurricane Delta made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane on the southwestern coast of Louisiana around 6 p.m. Friday.
Delta was downgraded to a tropical storm around 1 a.m. Saturday with winds around 60 mph.
The 2 p.m. Friday Advisory from the National Hurricane Center dropped Delta’s peak winds down to 105 mph, keeping Delta as a strong Category 2 hurricane. Southwesterly wind shear along with the intrusion of dry air along the western flank of the hurricane have disrupted some of its tropical structure and helped weaken the storm through the day. Even the eye of the storm has looked somewhat ragged, especially when compared to the system’s structure on Thursday.
The drop-off in the size and coverage of the rainshield on the south side of Delta is another hopeful sign, suggesting that the tropical impacts may subside quickly behind the passing core of the storm, further reducing the duration and overall extent of tropical threats across the state.
Delta has also slightly increased its forward speed on Friday: that offers hope that the system will get in-and-out of the state possibly before midday on Saturday. While that increased forward motion will allow stronger winds to extended deeper into Louisiana, it also suggests that the duration of those higher winds could be reduced for local communities.
For the WAFB area, we are anticipating only modest additional rains of under 1.0″ to 3.0″ for most communities, but locally-higher totals are likely to occur if rainbands become established in the storm’s circulation.
Indeed, the Storm Team will be closely monitoring the potential for developing rainbands through the evening and overnight. Not only will they produce the largest rain totals, but they will also deliver the highest winds and will be the sources for any tropical tornadoes that might develop.
Winds have been slowly increasing for the WAFB area on Friday afternoon and that trend will continue into the evening and overnight into Saturday’s pre-dawn hours. Some of WAFB’s southern communities have already been dealing with tropical-storm force wind gusts. The Storm Team expects just about the entire viewing area to experience wind gusts in the 40s and 50s (mph) at some point. Indeed, gusts into the 60s are possible for areas caught under one of the stronger rainbands.
Rain is likely from Friday evening through the early morning hours on Saturday, but the Storm Team believes that those rains will taper-off steadily soon after midnight for the WAFB area with only isolated-to-scattered rains in the viewing area by Saturday’s sunrise.
Saturday morning will still be windy but the threats of tropical-storm force gusts will have ended for most WAFB neighborhoods by daybreak. Winds will slowly decline in speed through the day but it remains breezy through Saturday afternoon across the viewing area. The rains will subside through the day as well with only isolated t-showers by mid-day and into Saturday afternoon. The last of the rain should be out of the viewing area before sunset on Saturday as we move to partly cloudy skies into the evening.
After that, we get to enjoy a well-deserved run of mild weather as the latest First Alert forecast is mainly-dry from Sunday right through the following weekend.
Delta makes the fourth Louisiana landfall (TS Cristobal, TS Marco, Cat. 4 Laura) within the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. That ties the state record for most landfalls within one hurricane season. 2002 also saw 4 landfalls (TS Bertha, TS Hanna, TS Isidore, Cat. 1 Lilli).
Locally, the biggest impacts will be the threat for additional flash flooding and strong damaging tropical winds. Wind potential shows widespread tropical storm force gusts (39-73 mph) within the WAFB viewing area. That will undoubtedly cause sporadic power outages across the WAFB viewing area.
The strongest winds are likely to occur Friday evening and into the night as the core of Delta moves closest to the WAFB viewing area. Rainfall amounts of 1-3″ of additional rain on top of what already occurred last night could lead to additional flash flooding.
Area rivers continue to be monitored as flooding is already occurring along the Comite River at Joor. The Amite River at Denham Springs and Bayou Manchac are expected to see minor flooding into the weekend.
A risk for severe weather also remains in place. Isolated tornadoes embedded within passing rain bands will remain possible now through Friday night. Most of the WAFB viewing area is under a Slight Risk (2 out of 5) for severe weather.
The lower reaches of the Amite and Tickfaw Rivers may not see much of an issue. Forecast surge estimates have been lowered for the tidal lakes. Surge estimates of 1-3 feet remain possible, so areas along the lower reaches of the Amite and Tickfaw will likely continue to see a slow rise through Saturday with higher than normal water levels into next week.
Be sure to have a way to receive weather alerts in the event you lose power, such as a battery powered weather radio or the First Alert Weather app on your smartphone.
2020 is no doubt a historic hurricane season.
A few stats:
- Delta will make the 4th Louisiana landfall this hurricane season. That ties the record set in 2002.
- Delta will make the 10th U.S. landfall this hurricane season. That breaks the previous record of 9 set back in 1916.
- 25 named storms in 2020 ranks 2nd all time; record is 28 set in 2005.
- We are currently 1 and 1/2 months ahead of 2005′s pace.
- We still have a little over 1 and 1/2 months of hurricane season left.
- Roughly 3% of all named storms occur outside hurricane season.
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