(The Center Square) – Hurricane Delta is expected to make landfall in Louisiana Friday as a Category 3 storm, threatening the same region that Hurricane Laura devastated in late August, forecasters said Wednesday.
“If this hurricane does come into southwest Louisiana similar to what Hurricane Laura did, it will be very, very devastating,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “It would do more damage there than it would elsewhere, just because the situation is so precarious.”
Thousands of buildings in southwest Louisiana suffered structural damage, and more than 8,000 evacuees still are in shelters. Though electricity has been restored to much of the region, infrastructure still is being repaired and backup power is not yet available, Edwards said.
A hurricane watch has been issued for almost all of coastal Louisiana. Local officials in more than a dozen parishes have ordered mandatory or voluntary evacuations, Edwards said. By the end of the day Thursday, residents should be wherever they intend to ride out the storm, he said.
Delta so far has been moving quickly, which would limit the amount of rainfall. About four to six inches of rain is expected, with significantly more possible in isolated areas.
Edwards has requested a pre-landfall federal emergency declaration, which the president plans to sign, the governor said. More than 560 search-and-rescue responders and more than 7,500 utility crew members are standing by, Edwards said.
As of 4 p.m., a hurricane watch was in effect from High Island, Texas to Grand Isle, La. A tropical storm warning was in effect from High Island to Bay St. Louis, Miss.
As much as 11 feet of storm surge is predicted from Pecan Island to Port Fourchon, while predictions for other threatened areas ranged from one to seven feet. The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the east of the landfall location, where “the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.”