FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Hurricane Delta, a major Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds, was approaching the Louisiana coast Friday morning with a danger of life-threatening flooding, according to the 8 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
Louisiana prepares for Delta as its forecast to slam into the state with slightly diminished strength as a Category 2 storm sometime Friday evening, the hurricane center said in its 8 a.m. update.
Heavy rain and a storm surge up to 11 feet are expected along portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Friday.
"The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline," the hurricane center said Friday morning.
As of 8 a.m., Delta - the earliest 25th-named storm ever to form - was located 160 miles south of Cameron, La., traveling north at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds at 120 mph. Category 3 hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson scale have wind speeds between 111 and 129 mph.
Delta, which is traveling over the western Gulf of Mexico, is expected to make landfall about 10 or 20 miles east of where Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane about six weeks ago.
Delta's hurricane-force winds extend outward from its core up to 40 miles and its tropical-storm-force winds extend 160 miles. Delta's threatening size is causing a large risk of life-threatening storm surge along the Gulf Coast where the tide will cause normally dry areas to be flooded by rising waters moving inland as high as 7 to 11 feet from the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge to Morgan City, Louisiana.
A storm surge warning is in effect for High Island, Texas, to the mouth of the Pearl River, Louisiana including Calcasieu Lake, Vermilion Bay, and Lake Borgne.
A hurricane warning is in effect for High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for west of High Island to Sargent, Texas, east of Morgan City, Louisiana, to the mouth of the Pearl River, including New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.