Hurricane Delta Forecast with Watches and Warnings. NOAA Graphic via the National Hurricane Center

25th Named Storm 3rd Major Hurricane of 2020 Atlantic Season

Update 10/07/2020 12:00 PM MST: The National Hurricane Center indicates increasing confidence in a Category 3 Louisiana landfall. Residents should hurry to complete preparations and activate their hurricane preparedness plan.

Follow advice and orders from local officials. Leave as soon as possible if evacuations orders are issued.

Major Hurricane Delta will grow in size as it crosses the Gulf over the next two days. The likelihood of life-threatening hurricane conditions continues to grow for storm surge, flooding, and hurricane-force winds, particularly for the Louisiana coast. Storm Surge and Hurricane Watches are in effect.

As Delta moves inland it brings heavy rain to the Ohio Valley and Mid Atlantic.


In an region already struggling to recover after Hurricane Laura, Marco, and Sally, Hurricane Delta will bring more damage and destruction to the Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center in Florida began issuing advisories on Potential Tropical Cyclone 26 at 5:00 PM Eastern on Sunday, October 4. The potential cyclone formed south of Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea. In the first advisory, the NHC issued hurricane watches and tropical storm watches for western Cuba. By eight o’clock Monday morning, the potential cyclone rapidly intensified to Tropical Storm Delta. Some watches were upgraded to warnings for Cuba. Additional warnings were issued within hours for the eastern Yucatan Peninsula.

Just over 24 hours after the first advisory, the NHC upgraded the storm to a Hurricane. Delta is now a category 3 Major Hurricane, the ninth hurricane of the 2020 Hurricane Season and the third major hurricane.

Delta will hit Cancun on the eastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 4 Hurricane tomorrow evening (October 7) with 140 MPH winds and gusts up to 165 MPH. The shift to the west lessens the impact on Cuba and Hurricane Warnings have been downgraded to Tropical Storm Warnings. Residents of Cancun the Yucatan Peninsula should hasten to complete preparations before tomorrow.

Hurricane Delta 120 Hour Wind Forecast Probability - NOAA Graphic

Hurricane Delta may make landfall as a powerful category 3 or 4 storm. Stay informed by local officials and evacuate if advised or ordered.

Storm Surge is a mound of water that moves with the storm and is highest just ahead of the eye. Strong wind circling the eye pushes the water ahead of the storm while low pressure near the center allows the water to rise as higher pressure away from the storm pushes down. 

Hurricane Laura had a storm surge and wave damage above the 17 foot mark, as evidenced by damage to structures near the coast located well above ground level on piers.

Major Hurricane Delta Aims for Northern Gulf Coast

Hurricane Delta Watches Warnings and Forecast on October 6, 2020. NOAA Graphic

Crossing the peninsula will weaken Delta to a Category 3 Hurricane, but it will regain strength over the Gulf of Mexico on a northwest track that gradually turns north, then north by northeast. The 60-hour forecast shows it reaching 130 MPH over the west central Gulf of Mexico and could reach Category 4 again by Thursday evening.

Forecasts beyond 60 to 72 hours have increasing uncertainty. At this time (Tuesday, 11 AM,) Delta will make landfall anywhere from Galveston Bay, Texas to Pensacola, Florida as a category 3 major hurricane. Tropical Storm conditions arrive Friday afternoon to Friday Evening, October 9.

Coastal Residents have just 72 hours to prepare for the hurricane. Evacuation orders are likely and will be issued as Delta’s path becomes clearer in the next two days. Expect state of emergency declarations from Governors and possibly from the President in the hours before the storm and afterward.

Major Hurricane Delta is a dangerous storm. Over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, further strengthening to a strong category 4 is probable.

Gamma and the 2020 Hurricane Season

A task force from Indiana Searches a Home left in rubble for Survivors after Hurricane Laura - FEMA Photo
Devastaged homes after Hurricane Laura near St. Charles, Louisiana
Storm Surge Damage from Hurricane Laura indicates a surge 17.2 feet above ground level indicated by damage atop raised structures. NWS Lake Charles Photo

Hurricane Laura Damage

Top-A first responder searches for survivors amid the wreckage of a home.
Middle—Devastated Homes
Bottom– A 17-foot storm surge on the beach indicated by the damage on raised structures.

Storm Surge and Flooding cause more damage and kill more people than all other hurricane hazards combined. Fast moving water comes ashore with the storm and sweeps away buildings. Surge can travel many miles inland through waterways. Stay out of moving water and never enter floodwaters with a vehicle or wade in. 

Delta had its beginnings in a Tropical Wave moving west over the Caribbean Sea on October 1 with a low chance of organization in 48 hours. That forecast changed rapidly when it began to organize on October 3 to a Tropical Depression on October 4. Monday morning at 7:00 AM, the NHC upgraded the storm to Tropical Storm Delta.

Just prior to Delta becoming the 25th earliest named storm, on September 29th, A tropical wave over the Lessor Antilles showed signs of possible development, but remained disorganized. Over the western Caribbean Sea, it organized into Tropical Storm Gamma and the earliest 24th named storm on record.

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Gamma’s early forecasts had it meandering just north of the Yucatan Peninsula before turning north. It nearly reached hurricane strength on October 3 near the tip of the peninsula. The storm weakened, but not before thousands were evacuated. Heavy rains and flash flooding brought landslides along with strong winds. Gamma is blamed for at least six confirmed fatalities.

The 2020 Hurricane Season is just one named storm away from tying the historic 2005 season which had 26 named storms. This season has nearly two months left and plenty of time to set a new record.

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