The Latest: Trump urges Gulf Coast to prepare for storm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Delta (all times CDT):

3:30 p.m.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he has spoken with the governors of Texas and Louisiana about Hurricane Delta and says that residents should heed the directions of state and local officials.

The storm is expected to hit the Louisiana coast Friday night or Saturday morning. It’s the 25th named storm of the Atlantic’s unprecedented hurricane season.

Trump says he was briefed on the storm and tweets: “please be prepared, be careful, and be safe!”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested a pre-landfall federal emergency declaration in a letter to Trump.

Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Laura, which ravaged the southwestern region as it roared ashore as a Category 4 storm in August.

2 p.m.

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans' mayor has urged the city’s residents to remain vigilant as the expected path of Hurricane Delta is predicted to hit the state’s coast Friday night or Saturday morning.

“We stand ready,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell at a news briefing Wednesday.

Colin Arnold, director of New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said the storm’s projection remains uncertain but the forecast track is currently west of the city.

“It was a monster before it hit the Yucatan,” Arnold said of Delta. “And, we are on the east side of this, slightly out of the cone, but be careful. It could go either way, left or right.”

City officials said residents should expect anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of rain over the entire event.

Meanwhile, officials said about 5,600 people evacuated from southwestern Louisiana after Hurricane Laura remain in New Orleans, down from a high of 12,000.

Arnold urged those evacuees who are considering driving back to their homes to be very careful and avoid doing so on Friday “when this thing starts coming ashore.

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1:20 p.m.

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says Hurricane Delta is expected to make landfall there Friday night or Saturday morning and the entire state is in the storm’s possible path.

Edwards says state and local officials in coastal areas are shoring up levees, sandbagging and taking other protections measures.

Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Laura, which ravaged the southwestern region as it roared ashore as a Category 4 storm in August. More than 6,600 Laura evacuees remain in hotels around the state, mainly in New Orleans, because their homes are too heavily damaged to return.

The Democratic governor has requested a pre-landfall federal emergency declaration in a letter to President Donald Trump.

“Hurricane Delta is a dangerous storm that will bring strong winds, heavy rain, life-threatening storm surge and flooding to coastal Louisiana, and I am hopeful President Trump will quickly approve my request for a federal emergency declaration,” Edwards said in a statement. “All Louisianans should use today to prepare for Hurricane Delta, heeding the direction of their local leaders when it comes to evacuations.”

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11:30 a.m.

NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Coast Guard has been staging its rescue boats and aircraft ahead of Hurricane Delta's expected landfall so they are prepared for searches and rescues, authorities said Wednesday.

“We are prepared, we’re ready, we understand what we need to do and how we need to do it,” said Capt. Will Watson, commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans.

“But I’d be lying to you if I said that we didn’t recognize that this is an extremely busy season,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve had a season like since maybe 2005.”

Given the frequency of storms striking the region this year, Watson acknowledged that there is “some fatigue” among Coast Guard members, but planning and bringing in resources from other areas is one way of dealing with that, he said.

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8 a.m.

CANCUN, Mexico — Mexico civil defense official Luís Alberto Vázquez said there were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries, but Hurricane Delta had toppled about 95 trees and knocked out electricity to parts of Cancun and Cozumel. Ortega said about 39,000 people had been evacuated in the states of Quintana Roo and Yucatan, and that about 2,700 people had taken refuge in storm shelters in the two states.

Early Wednesday, guests of the Fiesta Americana Condesa hotel awoke in the sweltering classrooms of the Technological Institute of Cancun campus where they had been moved Tuesday.

All of the windows had been covered with plywood so they couldn’t see what was happening, but they said the howling winds started around 2 a.m. and there had been heavy rain. The power — and with it the air conditioning — had been knocked out early Wednesday so it was steamy as tourists used their cell phone light to get up and make their way for a first cup of coffee.

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6 a.m.

CANCUN, Mexico — Hurricane Delta made landfall in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday as an extremely dangerous Category 2 storm, roaring ashore between Cancun and the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said satellite imagery, radar data from Cuba and surface observations in Mexico indicate that the center of Delta struck land near Puerto Morelos around 5:30 a.m. local time, sustaining top winds of 110 mph (175 kmh).

Quintana Roo Gov. Carlos Joaquín warned residents and tourists that “it is a strong, powerful hurricane.” He considered it a good sign that Delta had weakened a bit late Tuesday, but said the area hadn’t seen a storm like it since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

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