In Louisiana, where evacuees are still living in shelters from Hurricane Laura, voluntary evacuations have already began in several low-lying areas.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Tuesday ahead of the storm. He encouraged residents to be prepared for a major hurricane and not focus on its strength.
Ben Schott, the head of the National Weather Service in New Orleans, said during a Tuesday briefing that Delta will be a major hurricane and that its effects, including life-threatening storm surge, widespread damaging winds and flash flooding and river flooding related to heavy rainfall, will be significant.
The earliest the storm will hit is Friday morning, he said, but if the storm slows, it could be as late as Saturday morning. The whole coastline of Louisiana could see tropical storm winds, Schott said.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey also declared a state of emergency Tuesday ahead of the storm to help Alabama begin the preparation process and position the state to be able to declare a pre-landfall disaster declaration with Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A mandatory evacuation for tourists at the Alabama Gulf Coast, including Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Dauphin Island, and unincorporated areas of Ono Island and Fort Morgan, is ordered to begin Wednesday morning.
The storm is already stronger than Hurricane Sally, which caused widespread destruction to the state when it hit September 16, and Ivey encouraged residents to take it seriously.
Other southern states prepare:
- Mississippi has deployed 160,000 sandbags to low-lying counties and has nine shelters on standby to open if needed, the Mississippi Emergency Management agency said in a tweet Tuesday.
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has placed numerous resources on standby across the state in anticipation of potentially severe weather caused by Hurricane Delta, according to a news release from the governor’s office.