Hurricane Delta hits with muted impact to transportation

Satellite animation of Tropical Depression Delta over the lower Mississippi Valley.

Hurricane Delta made landfall near Creole, Louisiana, early Friday evening with nearly 11 million people in its path before weakening to a tropical storm early Saturday. While Delta’s effect on local supply chains could be significant, the impact on trucking and other modes of freight transportation appears minor to moderate.

Most of Interstate 10 in the impact zone is open, but there are a few trouble spots. As of late Saturday morning, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development reported that the highway was closed westbound, until further notice, on the Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles. Some sections of U.S. Highway 90 in the Lake Charles area are closed due to flooding.

The U.S. Coast Guard has not closed any ports in the region, but the following ports remain open with restrictions on vessel movement: Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Plaquemines, South Louisiana, St. Bernard and the Venice Port Complex in Louisiana; as well as Pensacola, Florida and Mobile, Alabama.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) has temporarily waived hours of service (HOS) regulations for drivers wanting to directly help with Delta’s relief and recovery efforts

Delta hit the coast as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 100 mph, flooding roads and blowing down trees and power lines in some of the same locations devastated by Hurricane Laura just six weeks ago. As of 11 a.m. ET Saturday, Delta was centered over western Mississippi and had weakened to a tropical depression with sustained winds of 35 mph. Tropical storm force gusts are possible Saturday afternoon over portions of northern Mississippi and southeastern Arkansas.

Delta’s winds will weaken more Saturday night into Sunday. Although winds have diminished dramatically since landfall, the flood threat isn’t quite over yet.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Tropical Depression Delta, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, 11 a.m. EDT

Tropical Storm Delta will continue moving through the lower Mississippi Valley through Saturday afternoon, then the Tennessee Valley late Saturday and Sunday.

For eastern Arkansas and northern Mississippi, Delta is expected to produce an additional 2 to 4 inches of rainfall, with isolated storm totals of up to 10 inches. As the remnants of Delta move further inland, it could dump 1 to 3 inches of rainfall in northern Alabama and the Tennessee Valley, with locally higher amounts. There is a potential for 3 to 6 inches in the southern and central Appalachians. These rainfall amounts will lead to flash, urban, small stream and minor river flooding.

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