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article image'Extremely dangerous' Hurricane Delta is intensifying rapidly

By Karen Graham     Oct 6, 2020 in Environment
Hurricane Delta - a tiny, but intense Category 4 hurricane - is closing in on a potentially catastrophic strike on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, including Cancún and Cozumel. Delta will then pose a significant danger to the U.S. Gulf Coast on Friday,
The 8:00 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center places Hurricane Delta about 180 miles (290 kilometers) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. Delta is moving along toward the west-northwest at 17 mph (28 kph), with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph (230 kph). The minimum central pressure is 956 mb (28.23 inches).
After a short "very impressive rapid intensification episode" earlier, the NHC said "some additional strengthening is likely to occur before Delta makes expected landfall on the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula" on Wednesday morning.
The reason Delta intensified so rapidly is due to an environment with the highest ocean heat content anywhere in the tropical Atlantic basin, low wind shear and sufficiently moist air, in a region notorious for rapid intensification in October, according to Sam Lillo, a NOAA scientist based in Boulder, Colorado.
A hurricane warning is in effect from Tulum to Dzilam, Mexico, including Cancún and Cozumel. Hurricane conditions are expected in this area by early Wednesday.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Cuba province of Pinar del Rio, Isle of Youth, Punta Herrero to Tulum Mexico, and Dzilam to Progreso Mexico.
Because of the storm's compact, and smaller size, Delta may lose some intensity while interacting with the Yucatan Peninsula. However, there is a bubble of somewhat warmer Gulf of Mexico water in its path, and Delta is expected to move over the southern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday afternoon, and over the southern or central Gulf of Mexico through Thursday, when the storm will approach the northern Gulf coast on Friday.
A storm surge of 9 to 13 feet above normal tide levels is possible along much of the northern coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Rainfall amounts of 4 to 6 inches are possible, with isolated amounts reaching 10 inches. Dangerous flash flooding and mudslides are also possible across western Cuba.
More about hurricane delta, category 4, Yucatan, northern US Gulf Coast
 
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