Delta Dawns

October 6, 2020

Click for larger – Delta as of 1030 Eastern this am (10-6)

Jeff Masters for Yale Climate Connections:

Hurricane Delta rapidly intensified into a category 4 hurricane over the warm waters of the western Caribbean on Tuesday morning, with the potential to land a devastating blow to Cancun, Mexico, on Wednesday morning. Delta is expected to turn to the north by Thursday and make landfall on the central Gulf of Mexico coast of the U.S. on Friday or Saturday.

Delta, which was just a tropical depression at 5 a.m. EDT Monday, has put on a rare feat of rapid intensification, increasing its winds by 70 mph (from 40 mph to 110 mph) in its first 24 hours since becoming a named storm at 8 a.m. EDT Monday. According to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, this is the most intensification in a 24-hour period for an October Atlantic named storm since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. According to Tomer Berg, Delta did the fastest intensification from a 35-mph tropical depression to a 130-mph category 4 hurricane in modern Atlantic records, accomplishing the feat in just 30 hours. The previous record was Keith in 2000 (42 hours).

UPDATE: Capital Weather Gang:

The United States has already endured nine tropical storm or hurricane landfalls during the record-setting 2020 hurricane season, and a 10th significant and rapidly intensifying storm is en route to the battered Gulf Coast.

Hurricane Delta, which exploded into a major, Category 4 storm in the northwest Caribbean on Tuesday morning, is expected to slam ashore in coastal Louisiana unleashing a dangerous combination of damaging wind, flooding rain, and surging ocean water Friday into Saturday. Before that it will deal a serious blow to Cancun and the Yucatán Peninsula.

On Tuesday morning, Hurricane Delta was continuing to rapidly intensify, lurching from a 40 mph tropical storm to a 130 mph Category 4 in just over 27 hours. This is the fastest rate of strengthening for an Atlantic hurricane in October since Wilma in 2005. Delta is forecast to strike Cancun and the Yucatán Peninsula on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of at least 140 mph.


AccuWeather meteorologists have put the Gulf Coast of the United States on high alert for what could be a disastrous strike later this week by a very dangerous hurricane. Overnight and through early Tuesday morning, Hurricane Delta escalated quickly into a Category 4 storm and forecasters warn it could strengthen even more before it strikes the Yucatan Peninsula. After that, forecasters expect Delta to emerge over the extremely warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where it could undergo even further strengthening.   

The hurricane’s winds had increased to 130 mph by 11:20 a.m. EDT Tuesday just over 24 hours after it became the 25th tropical storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. Delta is the first major hurricane to churn across the Atlantic during the month of October since Hurricane Michael in 2018Delta’s intensification was the most extreme in 15 years for an October hurricane. The storm’s maximum sustained winds increased by a whopping 70 mph — from 40 mph to 110 mph — in its first 24 hours as a named storm. Only Hurricane Wilma in 2005 exploded in a more significant fashion over that same 24-hour period.

Delta was chugging along west-northwest at 16 mph and was located about 315 miles east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, on Tuesday morning.    

Satellite images showed that Delta was an incredibly compact hurricane on Tuesday morning. Hurricane-force winds extended outward only up to 25 miles from the storm’s center, but a small eye about 6 miles across had developed, a sign that forecasters said signified rapid strengthening.  

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