What is the worst case scenario if Hurricane Delta hits near New Orleans LA on the Gulf Coast?
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October 6 at 5 pm: Focus shifted considerably west to now landfall between Lake Charles and Lafayette Louisiana. Winds are up to 145 mph. This article will not be updated unless the official track shifts back to the New Orleans area.
DATA: This storm officially becomes the highest rated storm for any past Greek alphabet named systems in history.
October 6: 2 pm advisory bumps the winds to 140 mph. The threshold for Category 5 is 157 mph winds.
DATA: This system went from a tropical depression to a Category 4 storm in just 30 hours.
October 6: The National Hurricane Center issued a special advisory update at 11:30 am officially calling Hurricane Delta a 130 mph winds Category 4 storm.
October 6: Preliminary data from NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft is showing recordings of 130 mph winds which will make this system a Category 4 storm on the next update if the NHC goes with the data.
October 6: Delta is now a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph at 11 am. The forecast track continues to inch more west and is centered over Vermillion Bay, Morgan City, New Iberia, and then in to Baton Rouge. The latest computer models are supporting the NHC guidance, but we will have to watch for a pendulum swing either back to the east or further to the west to develop a trend. The models continue to show further strengthening and we will have to watch for this system staying a major hurricane category at landfall.
October 6, 2020: Intensity moved to a 100 mph Category 2 overnight and the NHC is noting a major hurricane up until a day before landfall. The official track makes landfall near Morgan City then slightly curving near the west side of Lake Pontchartrain. Models this morning continue with a more west approach again near Morgan City, Thibodaux, Houma, and then near Baton Rouge. However, it’s important to note this is just one model run and it’s expected for there to be some pendulum swings with the models.
October 5, 2020: Officially named. The NHC says data from the hurricane hunter aircraft and satellite imagery shows this storm is currently undergoing rapid intensification and Delta is forecast to become a Category 3 or higher moderate intensity system.
The worst case scenario for the City of New Orleans LA and areas near Lake Pontchartrain, parishes around the Mississippi River, and towns near Lake Salvador and Lake Borgne is that a Category 2 (or higher) slow moving Hurricane Delta approaches the southern gulf coast moving from the southeast to the northwest with the upper right quadrant eyewall directly over the areas just mentioned during high tide.
A very slight decrease in severity is that this hurricane approaches the Mississippi River from the south and moves north with the upper right quadrant eyewall going directly over the City of New Orleans during high tide.
An example of this is the graphic we provide under the DISCUSSIONS section below. Readers are encouraged to use the discussion form at the bottom to engage us and other readers.
Under this scenario of a slow moving Category 2 or higher storm with the eyewall moving over Orleans Parish, storm surge water from the Gulf of Mexico will be pushed in to Lake Pontchartrain from Lake Borgne from the north, and also from the south via the Mississippi River.
This will mean that the below sea level bowl which the City of New Orleans sits in will have only the levee system to protect it from a nightmare amount of storm surge that will inundate the area. When I lived in the area going back to the year 2000, the levee system was only designed to withstand a Category 1 storm without a breach. Of course, after Hurricane Katrina, let’s hope that the entire levee system has upgrades to prevent possible catastrophic flooding on the same level as Hurricane Katrina or maybe even worse.
It’s important to remember, as bad as Katrina was, the upper right quadrant was not directly over Orleans Parish when she made landfall.
Regardless if the worst case scenario develops, all locations along the Louisiana southern gulf coast will have overwhelming impacts as this storm is forecast to have favorable conditions for intensity. As of Monday, October 5, 2020, the NHC has the storm at the moderate hurricane intensity which is Category 3 or above while in the Gulf of Mexico, but lessening it’s intensity to Category 1 or Category 2 before landfall.
Everyone in the southern parishes needs to monitor this storm. Unfortunately, you remember the effects Hurricane Katrina caused locally. We will continue to provide hourly updates via the section above.
Make Preparations For Hurricane Delta Now And Follow Any Evacuation Orders
Have all preparations in place and evacuation routes planned out at LEAST 2 days before Delta approaches the coast.
Regardless of intensity or exact path of this storm, there will be potential life threatening impacts along the entire coast of Louisiana. There will be downed trees on homes far away from the eyewall. There will be waterspouts far away from the landfall point. There will be fast moving rising water along all bodies of water well far away from direct landfall. There will be falling transformers and utility poles well away from the center. All of these DO kill people in just about every tropical system that hits the United States. Now is the time to prepare, not tomorrow.
If your parish emergency management office issues an evacuation order, please follow it. If you decide to ride out the storm at home, we have a list of preparations that might help you.
If you see moving water over a roadway, turn around.
As someone who lives near the levee system in Orleans Parish and greater New Orleans, including immediate outlying parishes, what is the current state of the levee system in regards to storm intensity and surge this system can withstand without a breach?
In the past 20 years, has the city upgraded it’s pumping system for standing water in downtown and uptown?
What is the current state of the levee system near Lake Pontchartrain, the Mississippi River, and Lake Borgne?
What other question or concerns do you have about Hurricane Delta in 2020?