BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Hurricane Delta made landfall this morning in Puerto Morelos as a category two hurricane with winds of 110 mph. We’ve seen reports of toppled trees and structural damage to parts of the Mexican resort communities and will likely see more as weather conditions improve later this morning.
The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center shows a category two hurricane still moving west-northwest at a pretty good clip. The track over the next 24 hours is virtually unchanged from the last advisory, and as it moves over the warm Gulf of Mexico water, more strengthening is expected, and it could reach major hurricane status later today, and possibly be a category four storm tomorrow afternoon or evening.
Thursday will be the time the Gulf coast states should watch Hurricane Delta closely. The forecast turn to the northwest and eventually almost due north will give us the best indication of where the storm could be headed. Right now, a Louisiana landfall looks likely in the Acadiana region (the biggest city in this area is Lafayette) on Friday afternoon. This would put New Orleans on the east side of the storm where they could see some strong wind, heavy rain and also some surge flooding. On the other hand, this track is great news for the Alabama and Florida Gulf coasts. At worst they would see some rain, wind and outer bands with some stronger storms embedded. Major storm surge and flash flooding and wind damage would be avoided.
This track is also better news for Central Alabama. We expect some rain and wind here on Friday afternoon and evening, with more of the same on Saturday. The impacts for us will depend on the size of Delta and the direct path of the center of circulation. If the center of the storm continues to stay west of us, only minor impacts will be seen. We still want to be ready for pockets of heavy rain, gusty wind and the outside risk of a strong or severe storm with a spin-up tornado not out of the question. These risks will have to be monitored closely and we’ll have a clearer picture tomorrow and Friday morning.
Our weather improves greatly by Sunday with just some lingering morning showers, but afternoon clearing. Drier weather takes over for Monday and Tuesday.