Hurricane Delta grew from a tropical depression to an intense Category Four hurricane in thirty hours: Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon. As of 10am Wednesday, winds are down to 105 mph. It’s a category 2. The system will strengthen again once it gets into the Gulf of Mexico today.
The storm made landfall at 5:30am central time Wednesday around Puerto Morelos, Mexico. Winds in Cancun gusted to 106 mph.
Beyond the Yucatan Peninsula, Delta make a hard right-hand turn moving north then north-northeast toward Louisiana’s coastline. Landfall in Louisiana could come as early as sunset Friday: potentially as a ‘major’ Category Three storm with wind blasting the shoreline at over 125 miles per hour and a storm surge upwards of 9 to 12 feet above the normal tides near and just east of the center.
There will be some impacts on Alabama’s coastline, but this does not look like a repeat of Hurricane Sally for Mobile and Baldwin Counties or for the Florida Coast.
See Delta’s latest position and track as it is updated by the National Hurricane Center here:
Delta’s impact here in Alabama and Tennessee
Heavy rain, windy weather and a risk of severe storms make up the expected impacts to North Alabama and Southern Tennessee as the remnants of Delta pass nearby on Saturday and Sunday.
- RAINFALL: Rain begins with mainly light, occasional showers on Friday. Bands of showers move north hundreds of miles ahead of Delta. Rain gets heavier and more persistent by midday Saturday; the majority of the rain around here comes Saturday, and it could be substantial: up to four inches in some communities! Showers last into Sunday as the remnant low slowly pulls northeast away from the Tennessee Valley. This means flash flooding is a threat!
- WIND: The environmental wind (not thunderstorms) around a tropical cyclone like this can be rough: sustained around 20 to 40 miles with some occasionally-higher gusts. The strongest winds will be closer to the center: western Alabama and Tennessee as well as Mississippi. That’s enough to cause sporadic power outages, break branches, and even knock down a few trees.
- SEVERE WEATHER: This is a conditional threat for Alabama and Tennessee, and that means it’s not a guarantee. Be alert! The east side of a landfalling hurricane is often where we will find bands of strong storms that can produce high wind gusts and sometimes tornadoes. It’s not a sure thing, but be mentally prepared for strong storms if they develop.