Hurricane Delta update - 145 mph and still strengthening!
Hurricane Delta now has maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, and the NHC is projecting a peak intensity of 155 mph. The eye is only 4 to 5 miles in diameter. This will be a devastating and life-threatening landfall in the Yucatan early tomorrow morning. Also, you can see the track has shifted slightly westward in Louisiana, as I have been posting about.
Here are some key points from the NHC:
Life-threatening storm surge and potentially catastrophic wind damage are expected within portions of the northern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico beginning tonight. All preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
There is an increasing likelihood of life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane-force winds, especially along the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi, beginning on Friday. Residents in these areas should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow advice given by local officials. Storm surge and hurricane watches will likely be issued for portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
When the small inner core of Delta moves over land, weakening is expected, but warm waters and low vertical wind shear over the southern Gulf of Mexico should support re-strengthening, and a second peak in intensity is likely when Delta is over the central Gulf of Mexico in 48-60 hours. After that time, increasing southwesterly shear and the cooler shelf waters over the northern Gulf are expected to cause some reduction in wind speed.
The global models, however, depict a significant increase in the size of Delta's wind field while it is over the Gulf of Mexico, which increases the spatial extent of the storm surge and wind threats for the northern Gulf coast. So regardless of Delta's final landfall intensity, the projected large size of the hurricane is likely to result in a significant storm surge and wind event for portions of the northern Gulf coast later this week.