Hurricane Delta rapidly intensified into a powerful Category 2 storm on Tuesday, October 6th, and is expected to reach Category 4 status as it rips across the Gulf of Mexico then treks north toward the U.S. southeast.
Delta is forecast to lash Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday with “extremely dangerous storm surge” and “significant flash flooding.” While forecasters are unsure exactly where and when it could hit the U.S., areas from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle could see dangerous conditions Thursday night into Friday.
The National Hurricane Center says Delta is going through “a very impressive rapid
intensification episode.” Less than 24 hours ago, Delta was a tropical depression that the National Hurricane Center had initially pegged to just muster hurricane strength on Tuesday.https://095667ca13dddc42dc468f7a358e0e0b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Later Monday morning, it was Tropical Storm Delta and then a hurricane by evening. As of 5 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Delta had winds up to 100 mph and was powering forward west-northwest at 15 mph. The storm was about 420 miles east-southeast of the Mexican island of Cozumel, Hurricane Center forecasters said.
“I honestly don’t see much that will stop it until it reaches Yucatan,” a forecaster wrote in the Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. update.
Delta could be a low-end Category 4 storm with winds around 130 mph when it hits Mexico, forecasters say. While it could lose some strength as it tears through Mexico, “conditions look ripe for re-intensification” once it continues on to the U.S., the Hurricane Center says.
If it makes landfall, Delta would be the 10th named storm to hit the U.S. in a single season, which would be an all-time record. 2020 has already tied 1916 for nine landfalling tropical systems in the U.S., AccuWeather said.
Delta is the earliest 25th named storm in an Atlantic hurricane season. The Hurricane Center this year turned to the Greek alphabet for naming storms, something it has only done once before, after more than 21 named storms formed, exhausting the pre-approved name list.
Two hurricanes this year have reached “major” status, meaning their wind speeds have reached at least 111 mph, making the storm a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.
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