Hurricane Delta closes in on Gulf Coast

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The hurricane was expected to make landfall October 9 as at least a Category 2 storm and possibly maintain the Category 3 strength it regained during the afternoon of October 8, before crashing ashore and spreading storm surge, rain, and wind damage through the central Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi Valley during the weekend.

Steve Thompson, a CFII who runs PlaneSimple, a small flight school at Lake Charles Regional Airport, estimated “about half” of the aircraft based at the southern Louisiana airfield were previously damaged by Hurricane Laura when that Category 4 storm swept through with 150-mph winds on August 27, taking many of the airport’s structures along with it.

According to FAA data, 56 piston aircraft, three jets, and 41 helicopters are based at Lake Charles Regional Airport.

“Hangars were completely destroyed, but we got lucky,” Thompson explained. One of the flight school’s two aircraft was at an Arkansas paint shop and another was repositioned at a nearby airport. “It was just dumb luck because our aircraft was OK and the one parked right next to it wasn’t. If we get another direct hit like that it could be bad.”

Hurricane Laura also damaged aircraft and property at Southland Field to the west.

The National Hurricane Center predicted tropical-storm-force winds would begin to batter the Gulf Coast from Texas to the Florida Panhandle by 8 p.m. on October 8. Forecasters warned of potential storm surge flooding from High Island, Texas, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, with peak surges up to 11 feet near Vermilion Bay, Louisiana, south of the Lake Charles Regional Airport.

Hurricane-force winds were expected to arrive in the afternoon and evening of October 9 between High Island, Texas, and Morgan City, Louisiana, before spreading inland with “significant flash flooding” and minor to moderate river flooding, the weather service said.

GA gathers data on Hurricane Delta

In the days before landfall, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “hurricane hunter” overflights included daily missions piercing parts of Hurricane Delta after departing from Florida’s Lakeland Linder International Airport, where a team of weather specialists and their aircraft are based.

A high-altitude Gulfstream IV–SP jet monitored upper atmosphere weather systems surrounding the developing hurricane while crews aboard a pair of four-engine turboprop Lockheed WP–3D Orion hurricane hunter aircraft named Kermit and Miss Piggy flew missions between 15,000 and 18,000 feet above the Gulf of Mexico.

The Orions are equipped with tail Doppler radar and

This post was originally published by AOPA on . Please visit the original post to read the complete article.

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