MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - From a tropical storm to major hurricane in 24 hours, Hurricane Delta is continuing to gain momentum. The track forecast hasn’t changed much from previous outlooks despite the quick strengthening that is ongoing; Delta is expected to make landfall near Cancun late Tuesday night as an extremely dangerous and catastrophic category 4 hurricane.
After weakening to a category 3 storm, it will emerge over the Gulf of Mexico and regain category 4 status come Wednesday afternoon. After moving northwestward through Thursday evening, Delta is forecast to curve northward toward the northern Gulf Coast heading into Thursday night and Friday.
We are still projecting landfall to occur along the Louisiana coast, but the timing has changed slightly. It now appears that landfall will occur Friday night and very early Saturday morning. As is always the case, precisely where the hurricane tracks will determine the extent of our impacts here in Alabama. For now, we’ll go with shower chances from late Thursday afternoon through perhaps Sunday afternoon.
Wednesday, though, will feature much more sunshine... it will also be much warmer in the middle and even upper 80s on Wednesday..
Then, our attention shifts to the now very dangerous Hurricane Delta.
It will not rain that entire time, but we can’t totally rule out some rain shower action during that 4-day period -- especially during the day Saturday.
Rainfall amounts of 1-3″ are possible by the end of the Sunday, with the highest totals west of I-65 and north of I-85 as we see it now. However, since the ground is dry and that rain will fall over a long duration of time, we don’t expect many flooding problems across our region.
Based on current expectations, the threat of damaging winds and power outages is very, very low in our part of the state. And, with the environment set to be in place before Delta’s arrival, the threat of spin-up tornadoes is also looking very low.
The tornado threat could increase a bit if we get some intense feeder bands and sunshine, mainly on Saturday.
The “cone of uncertainty” does encompass a large swath from the Texas-Louisiana state line to Pensacola, which means we shouldn’t totally write off a shift in the path of Delta. Unlike with Sally, there just doesn’t appear to be much support for any significant shift eastward -- good news for us in Alabama.