Louisiana Braces for Category 3 Hurricane Delta, State of Disaster Declared

October 9, 2020 Updated: October 9, 2020

As Hurricane Delta approached the Gulf Coast, President Donald Trump declared a state of disaster for both Louisiana and Mississippi.

“Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that an emergency exists in the State of Mississippi and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Delta beginning on October 7, 2020, and continuing,” Trump said in his order on Thursday evening.

Delta, a Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds, is about 150 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana, and it is moving 12 mph to the north, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

A hurricane warning is in effect from High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, said the agency. A storm surge warning is also in effect from High Island, Texas, to the Pearl River, Louisiana, which includes Calcasieu Lake, Vermilion Bay, and Lake Borgne, the agency said, adding that life-threatening surge is expected starting on Friday afternoon or the early evening.

Between 7 feet and 11 feet of storm surge is expected to hit around Morgan City, Louisiana, and the Rockefeller Wildlife Reserve, Louisiana, said the agency.

“On the forecast track,” the hurricane center warned, “the center of Delta will move inland within the hurricane warning area this evening.”

anticipation of Hurricane Delta
Stephanie Verrett and Jodie Jones fill sandbags to protect their home in anticipation of Hurricane Delta, in Houma, La., on Oct. 7, 2020. (Gerald Herbert/AP Photo)

From Friday to Saturday, Hurricane Delta is slated to produce from 5 inches to 10 inches of rain, with isolated areas seeing 15 inches in Louisiana. That will cause “minor to major river flooding” in the area, according to the NHC.

“For extreme east Texas into northern Louisiana, southern Arkansas, and western Mississippi, Delta is expected to produce 3 to 6 inches of rain, with isolated maximum totals of 10 inches. These rainfall amounts will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and isolated minor river flooding,” the agency said.

And in Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency like his counterpart, Gov. John Bel Edwards, did in Louisiana. Southern Mississippi may also see heavy rain and flash flooding, said forecasters. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey also declared an emergency earlier this week.

“I know people in Louisiana, especially the southwest, are very strong and very resilient, but they are going to be tested here,” Bel Edwards said at a Thursday news conference, according to Reuters.

When Delta hits the northern Gulf Coast, it will be the 10th named storm to make a U.S. landfall so far this year.