Oct. 9 (UPI) — Hurricane Delta made landfall in Creole, La., Friday evening, bringing severe conditions and life-threatening storm surge to the region as a Category 2 storm.
In its 7 p.m. CDT update, the National Hurricane Center said the hurricane had peaked to maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, a Category 1 storm. The eye was located 25 miles west-southwest of Jennings, La., and was moving north-northeast at 14 mph.
“On the forecast track, the center of Delta should make landfall along the coast of southwestern Louisiana during the next several hours, and then move across central and northeastern Louisiana tonight and Saturday morning” the NHC said in its advisory.
“Slow weakening is expected before landfall, with rapid weakening expected after the center moves inland.”
A hurricane warning was in effect from High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, La.
Delta had previously been projected to make landfall somewhere between far eastern Texas and western Mississippi, a region that has been threatened twice this year by hurricanes — Laura and Sally, both in September.
The track narrowed late Thursday and early Friday as Delta neared the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The NHC also said “a few tornadoes are possible today and tonight over southern portions of Louisiana and Mississippi.”
The forecast track should keep the worst impacts west of New Orleans, but communities from Lake Charles to Lafayette, Louisiana, can be hit especially hard with extensive property damage and power outages from a combination of high winds, torrential rain and flooding along this portion of the Interstate 10 corridor in Louisiana.
A storm surge warning has been issued from Sabine Pass east to the Mouth of the Pearl River.
Delta exploded into a Category 4 hurricane on Monday before gradually weakening. On Tuesday, its intensification was the most extreme in 15 years for an October hurricane.
Delta also set a speed record for strengthening from a depression to a Category 4 hurricane, just over 36 hours, surpassing Keith from 2000 — and strengthened into the second-most intense hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season on Tuesday. The only storm to become stronger this season was Hurricane Laura, which packed peak winds of 150 mph.
The storm returned to Category 3 strength — and “major” hurricane status — once sustained winds reached 111 mph on Thursday.
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