Hurricane Delta Heading For The Gulf Coast
Update as of 11:15 AM:
A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from High Island, Texas to the Alabama/Florida state line, where dangerous storm surges are possible depending upon the exact track of the storm.
The Hurricane Center said maximum surges of 7 to 11 feet were possible along portions of the Louisiana coast. They said surges of 2 to 4 feet were possible as far east as the Alabama Gulf coast.
A Hurricane Watch has been issued along the Gulf coast from High Island, Texas to Grand Isle, Louisiana, where hurricane force winds are possible with Delta. Additionally, a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from east of Grand Isle, Louisiana to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi -- including metropolitan New Orleans -- for the possibility of tropical storm force winds.
Original story from 8:00 AM:
Hurricane Delta is made landfall near Puerto Morelos on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula around 5:30 AM Wednesday morning as a category 2 hurricane. It is expected to weaken on land before re-strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico late this week as makes its move toward the United States Gulf Coast.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said dangerous storm surge and strong winds are expected over the Yucatan Peninsula. A sensor on Cancun reported peak sustained winds of 84 mph and a wind gust to 106 mph as Delta passed nearby early Wednesday.
The hurricane is forecast to move into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday afternoon, where it is expected to re-strengthen. As of the early morning forecast, Delta was expected to regain category 3 status Thursday afternoon and category 4 status Thursday night. Confidence is increasing for life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds along the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi beginning on Friday, the Hurricane Center said. They encouraged residents there to have their hurricane plan in place ahead of hurricane and storm surge watches that the center said they would likely issue later Wednesday.
Cooler water, stronger wind shear, and dry air near the coast may cause Delta to weaken some as it approaches the coast on Friday, but it is expected to cause potentially life-threatening impacts to the coastline. So far, the geographic extent of Delta’s hurricane and tropical storm force winds have been confined, but the wind field is expected to grow wider in the Gulf of Mexico.
Delta is expected to make landfall as the 10th tropical storm or hurricane this season — which would be a record for the number of landfalls. Hurricane records extend as far back as 1851.
Outer fringe rain bands are possible as far as the western Florida Panhandle late Friday and into Georgia, the Tennessee Valley, and the Carolinas over the weekend. Forecasters at National Weather Service offices along the Gulf coast said some coastal flooding was possible into the Florida Panhandle Friday and Saturday, even though the hurricane was expected to make landfall farther west.
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