While still cleaning up after Hurricane Laura, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is preparing for Hurricane Delta, which was forecast to strike the state’s coast Friday as a Category 2 storm.
The department was closing bridges to boat traffic and cleaning clogged ditches Thursday and Friday in southern Louisiana. Mandatory evacuations were in effect. Traffic jams were reported on Interstate 10.
The DOTD has been conducting debris cleanup from Hurricane Laura, which struck August 27 as a Category 4 storm. The department faced thousands of miles of impacted state rights of way, which it continues to address.
Rain bands from Delta began spreading into southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas on Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained wind speeds of 120 mph as of 7 a.m., the center reported.
The center issued storm surge warnings for High Island, Texas, to the mouth of the Pearl River in Louisiana, with surges as high as 7 to 11 feet in some areas. A hurricane warning is in effect for High Island to Morgan City, Louisiana.
The storm is moving at 12 mph and slowly weakening as it approaches the northern Gulf Coast. It is expected to rapidly weaken after the center moves inland Friday evening, dumping 5 to 10 inches of rain – and in isolated areas up to 15 inches – through Saturday from southwest into central Louisiana.
The storm is forecast to bring life-threatening storm surge, damaging hurricane-force winds, as well as flash and river flooding and possible tornadoes.