Hurricane Delta likely to make landfall near or east of where Laura did

6:45 am CT Thursday: Good morning. We’re tracking near-term weather issues related to Hurricane Delta, which is still expected to come ashore in southwestern Louisiana on Friday afternoon or evening. Then, we can anticipate a sunny, hot weekend before a cool front arrives early next week to usher back fall-like weather into the region. That’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in with an update on Delta.

Hurricane Delta

The storm has slowly organized over night and now has 100 mph winds. Overall, the Delta track forecast remains pretty locked in, with the storm moving to the northwest, and commencing a northward turn Thursday night. Along this track, which is is supported by virtually all of the reliable guidance and therefore of high confidence, the storm will very likely come ashore between Cameron, Louisiana, on the eastern side, and White Lake on the west. As you may remember, Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron in August as a devastating Category 4 hurricane. Delta will be weaker, and perhaps a dozen or two miles further east, but it will nonetheless bring repeat misery to a region still reeling from catastrophe only six weeks ago. This is truly horrible.

Map showing the official forecast for Delta (black line) versus where Hurricane Laura (white dashed line) made landfall. (NOAA)

In terms of intensity, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center expect Delta to intensify today, and possibly reach Category 3 before moving over the cooler waters in the northern Gulf of Mexico and encountering higher wind shear. It is forecast to come ashore with 105 mph winds, as a Category 2 hurricane. Let’s briefly address the three main effects from Delta.

Wind

Here’s the latest forecast for maximum wind gusts from Delta. Note, this is not sustained winds, but the maximum winds that may briefly pulse up during Delta’s strongest squalls. These strongest winds will be along, and to the east of the storm’s landfall location.

European model forecast for Delta wind gust swath. (Weather Bell)

The strongest winds will occur on Friday. Much of the Houston area is unlikely to see Tropical Storm-force wind gusts, but coastal areas will definitely become quite windy during the day and evening, with the possibility of some gusts reaching 60 mph, especially along Bolivar Peninsula.

Surge

And here’s the National Hurricane Center’s forecast for “peak storm surge,” which represents the combination of surge and high tide for coastal areas. Again, the worst effects will be to the right of the storm’s landfalling location. For Houston, coastal flooding of 1 to 3 feet will be possible generally north of San Luis Pass, including around Galveston Bay and across the Bolivar Peninsula.

Storm surge graphic for Hurricane Delta. (National Hurricane Center)

Rain

In terms of rainfall, we still have some uncertainties, as there should be a pretty steep rainfall gradient—a line along which, to the west, there will be virtually no rain, and to the east where there will be 1 to 2 inches. We think this line probably will fall somewhere in Houston, but whether it’s along the Interstate 45 corridor, or further east, is difficult to say. Here’s the official forecast for rainfall, but we would rate this as fairly low confidence. In Houston, we should see some outer bands of Delta moving through today, with the heavier rain chances on Friday. We expect no flooding issues in the metro area.

NOAA rainfall forecast for now through Saturday. (Weather Bell)

Thursday

Today should see increasing clouds with the aforementioned chance of rain showers, especially on the southern and eastern sides of the region. Despite the mostly cloudy skies this afternoon, expect highs to reach into the upper 80s, with a warm night, and lows only dropping into the 70s. Hello, humidity!

Friday

This will be the day with the most impacts in terms of surf, winds, and rain. Skies will be cloudy, and highs may struggle to reach 80 degrees for most areas. Winds amp up during the day on Friday, with gusty conditions during the afternoon, evening, and overnight hours as Delta pushes through. With the kinds of winds we’re expecting we do not anticipate power outage issues in Houston, although there could possibly be a few problems right on the coast.

Saturday and Sunday

Showers should be ending by late Friday night or Saturday morning, and skies are expected to clear fairly quickly. The weekend will be sunny and warm, with highs in the upper 80s to lower 90 degrees. My sense is that this weekend and early next week are probably the last times Houston will see highs in the 90s in 2020, but that is a guess, not a promise.

Next week

A cool front appears to be on track to arrive on Tuesday to sap some of the region’s heat, with another stronger front probably arriving by or before the weekend.

Our next update will come no later than 2:30pm CT today.

12 thoughts on “Hurricane Delta likely to make landfall near or east of where Laura did

  1. Jingle Jangle

    Eric and Matt: Thank you again for your continued diligence and ‘hype free’ reporting! An unfortunate repeat for Louisiana.

    1. Shannah Schultz

      So thankful for the hype free weather info! Louisiana folks, I am praying for you all.

  2. Jackson

    While I am relieved, I feel horrible for those in that area. I’d honestly rather it hit here than there, at least we can handle it.

    1. Jane

      Thanks for your updates….what do you think about wind, rain, and flooding on west galveston island?

  3. Lisa

    I’m relieved, bur still have that slight fear that we’ll get caught off guard…I’ll feel better when I see this storm obviously turning away from Texas..2020 has shot my trust in things actually happening the way experts say they will

    .

    1. Phil

      I don’t think it will for this storm, but with computer models being so accurate lately, I do fear over reliance could occur some day and result could be a large populated area getting caught completely off guard.

  4. Mary Carlin

    “very likely come ashore between Cameron, Louisiana, on the eastern side, and White Lake on the west”

    DId you mean to say Cameron on the West side and White Lake on the East side? Cameron is West of White Lake.

    1. John Burwell

      I took it to mean “on the eastern side of Cameron and the western side of White Lake.” Relative to the towns, not the track…

  5. Bobbie B

    I’m supposed to be driving to Crystal Beach tomorrow for my wedding weekend (by way of Winnie). Should I be okay???

  6. The Thompsons

    In our home we GREATLY appreciate the depth of your analysis and the level-headed presentation of the weather affecting the greater Houston area that you present on Spacecityweather.com!
    Your work clearly shows a great love of what you’re doing and a healthy respect for the folks who follow your work. You guys are exceptional!

    And congrats on the new baby! Hope it is doing well.

  7. Sandi

    Hi there! Our family is currently on vacation in Seaside, FL. We plan to drive back to Houston on Saturday. Any travel advisories?

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