Storm Delta expected to turn into hurricane as it forms off US coast

System comes just after Gamma ravaged southern Mexico over weekend

Louise Hall
Monday 05 October 2020 22:18
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A man looks at a boat stranded at a beach during tropical storm Gamma, in Villahermosa, Mexico, 3 October, 2020
A man looks at a boat stranded at a beach during tropical storm Gamma, in Villahermosa, Mexico, 3 October, 2020

A new tropical storm has formed in the Caribbean which is potentially more threatening than deadly Tropical Storm Gamma which swept southern Mexico over the weekend.

Storm Delta is on track to hit western Cuba and eventually the US Gulf Coast, likely as a hurricane and could intensify to winds around 100 mph (160 kph) before making landfall on the US Gulf Coast around Friday.

“There is a risk of dangerous storm surge, wind, and rainfall hazards along the coast from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle,” the hurricane centre said.

As of Monday morning, the tropical storm is located about 130 miles south of Jamaica with sustained winds of 40 mph.

There is a large uncertainty in track and strengthening of the storm but it was moving near 7 mph (11 kmh), on track to hit the Cayman Islands early on Tuesday.

It is thought it will approach western Cuba on Tuesday afternoon or evening before moving into the Gulf on Wednesday.

The storm was forecast to become a hurricane on Monday or Tuesday night before reaching Cuba.

It is the earliest 25th named storm to form in the Atlantic, beating the old record of 15 November, 2005, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.

A tropical storm warning for the Cayman Islands has been issued and a hurricane watch is posted for western Cuba.

"Although the air has been cooler and drier over the Gulf of Mexico lately, the water is still very warm and with explosive growth potential for Delta," said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

Delta comes just as Gamma lashed Mexico’s resort-heavy coast with near-hurricane force winds. Gamma also drenched Tabasco and Chiapas states, killing at least six people and forcing thousands from their homes.  

According to Mexico’s civil defence agency four of the deaths, including two children, occurred in Chiapas and were caused by a landslide which buried their home.

Two other deaths were recorded in Tabasco state, where one person was dragged away by the water and another was reported drowned.

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