Hurricane Delta continues its rapid intensification today. There has been some slight weakening as Delta nears the Yucatan peninsula. Top sustained winds are estimated by hurricane hunter aircraft to sit near 130 mph with a forward speed at a fairly rapid 16 mph to the WNW. At this rate, the northern Yucatan Peninsula should be making every effort to get ready for a very dangerous storm striking overnight into tomorrow morning.
The official forecast track from the National Hurricane Center has been fairly consistent over the last 24 hours, with the storm moving into the southern Gulf by Wednesday afternoon and continuing NW, interacting with a high pressure area over the eastern Gulf. It will then encounter a trough in the southern states that will pull it to the north then northeast Thursday into Friday.
The models are in fairly good agreement about the next couple of days as far as the track goes, but some spread in the forecast guidance after that means changes to the official forecast are possible. This is a wait and see approach for the Gulf coasts of MS, AL and FL, but those states should be ready to feel some impacts from a strong hurricane come Friday.
For Central Alabama, if this forecast holds, we could see rain chances increasing by Friday afternoon and evening as outer rain bands move in. The weather should go downhill by Saturday with widespread rain, especially in our western counties, gusty wind and a small chance of a spin-up tornado. The impacts for us are still reliant on the track and speed of the storm. Let’s all be prepared as we head into the weekend.