Hurricane Delta is getting closer to the U.S., eyeing landfall in southwestern Louisiana in a matter of hours.
With Delta closing in, the U.S. Coast Guard set port condition Yankee at the Louisiana ports of Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Plaquemines, South Louisiana, St. Bernard and the Venice Port Complex. Under port condition Yankee, the ports may remain open, but vessel movement within them is limited. Traffic to and from the ports may also be restricted, but, until further notice, ship-to-shore operations continue. As the weather deteriorates, each captain of the port (COPT) may upgrade the port condition to Zulu, closing the port.
The Texas and Louisiana departments of transportation have not yet closed any sections of Interstate 10 in preparation for Hurricane Delta, but this could change as Delta nears landfall and water begins covering roads.
A hurricane warning remains in place from High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, a stretch of about 250 miles.
As of 8 a.m. Friday, Delta was a high-end Category 3 major hurricane with winds of 120 mph, spinning 160 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana. At its current rate of forward movement, Delta should make landfall late Friday afternoon or early evening just south of Lake Charles and Lafayette, Louisiana.
Tropical storm force winds extend up to 160 miles from the eye of the storm. So tropical storm conditions will begin along the Louisiana coast Friday morning. Hurricane conditions will begin in the warning area this afternoon.
Friday through Saturday, Delta is expected to produce 10 to 15 inches of rainfall in parts of the impact zone, along with 6 to 12 feet of “life-threatening storm surge,” according to the National Hurricane Center. This combination will lead to significant flash flooding, urban flooding and small stream flooding, along with minor to moderate river flooding.
Any truckers waiting to load last-minute freight in the impact zone need to get out as soon as possible. As the storm gets closer, high water, as well as downed trees and power lines due to severe winds, will lead to roadblocks.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has temporarily suspended hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for commercial truck drivers who will be directly assisting in Hurricane Delta recovery.