Delta Loses Strength
Updated Wednesday 7:00 a.m.
Hurricane Delta took aim at Mexico's northeast Yucatan coast Wednesday as a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, having weakened somewhat since Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said. It is still categorized as a major storm.
Delta earlier grew at an extraordinary rate, rising from sustained winds of only 40 mph Monday morning, to Category 4 on Tuesday with winds of 130 mph. The NHS says the storm is expected to strengthen once again as it heads for the U.S. Gulf coast.
Should it hit the central Gulf coast as a Category 4 storm, Delta will likely cause "catastrophic damage," according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
For now, Delta poses the most immediate threat to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, where resort spots such as Tulum and Cozumel are under a hurricane warning as the area awaits the storm center's arrival early Wednesday.
The NHS said the storm could bring a "life-threatening storm surge" to the region, with water 8 to 12 feet above normal tide levels.
The storm is predicted to take a slightly more westward path than forecasters had been predicting. But it's then seen curling toward the north and northeast, and its potential U.S. landfall remains on the Louisiana coast – raising concern in a region that has already seen flooding and power outages from storms over the summer.