Hurricane Delta is getting stronger as it marches across the Gulf of Mexico toward the southern US coast, packing top sustained winds of 195km/h.
The devastating Category 3 storm is expected to make a likely landfall late on Friday local time somewhere along southwest Louisiana's storm-battered coast.
At 10pm local time on Thursday, Delta was centred about 455km south of Cameron, Louisiana.
It is moving north-northwest at 19km/h.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Delta could strengthen some more during the night hours but is expected to weaken as it nears the US coast on Friday.
Louisiana residents are confronting the menace just weeks after an earlier hurricane battered parts of the state.
Resident got stark warnings on Thursday to brace for winds that could turn still-uncollected debris into dangerous missiles and again knock out power to thousands.
Delta's projected path includes the southwest area of Louisiana where Category 4 Hurricane Laura made landfall less than two months ago.
Laura has been blamed for more than 30 deaths.
At least five southwest Louisiana parishes that were hit hard by Laura in August were under mandatory evacuations.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said US President Donald Trump approved his request to declare a federal emergency, which frees up federal resources.
A recent forecast for Hurricane Delta has the storm making landfall "almost precisely" where Hurricane Laura struck - a region where homes and electrical infrastructure are still damaged, Edwards said in a radio interview.
This is the sixth time this year that people in Louisiana have had to get ready for an approaching hurricane or tropical storm, while also coping with the coronavirus pandemic.
Delta is the 25th named storm of this year's unprecedented Atlantic hurricane season, the latest in a series of intensifying storms that scientists have attributed to global warming.
It hit Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane just south of the resort city of Cancun on Wednesday with high winds and heavy rain.
No deaths or injuries were reported.