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Hurricane Delta Makes Landfall

The storm made landfall near Creole, LA. this evening
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 8:31 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2020 at 7:30 AM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) - 8PM FRIDAY UPDATE: Hurricane Delta made landfall this evening near Creole, LA. with winds of 100 mph. The storm will continue to weaken as it moves inland tonight and through the day on Saturday. Here in Northwest Florida we can expect to see high surf/rip current risk, around 1″ of rain Saturday, and a small risk of severe weather. Once the rain moves east of our area most of the rest of the weekend should be warm, sunny, and quiet.

8AM FRIDAY UPDATE: Not much has changed in the forecast from our previous update found below. Delta is still a Cat3 with 120mph winds this morning, although, Hurricane Hunters have found lower winds around the core during flights this morning. We do anticipate seeing the storm weaken slightly to a still powerful Cat2 storm with around 110mph winds by landfall later this afternoon into this evening in Western Louisiana, near Cameron and Lake Charles.

Here in Northwest Florida the impacts from Delta will be fairly small. The main one will be rough surf and dangerous rip currents through the weekend. The other impact will be 1-2″ of rain Saturday/Saturday night/Sunday AM. There are indications the bulk of the rain may be during the evening and overnight so a good chunk of Saturday might stay dry.

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10PM THURSDAY UPDATE: Hurricane Delta is a Cat3 hurricane again with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. The storm has gotten better organized today as it passed through a more favorable area with warm water and less wind shear. Wind shear will increase and the water temps will decrease on Friday before landfall so some weakening is forecast. Regardless, a Cat 3 or Cat 2 storm is forecast to strike in the same general area as Hurricane Laura.

Here in Northwest Florida the impacts from Delta will be fairly small. The main one will be rough surf and dangerous rip currents through the weekend. The other impact will be 1-2″ of rain Saturday/Saturday night/Sunday AM. There are indications the bulk of the rain may be during the evening and overnight so a good chunk of Saturday might stay dry.

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8AM THURSDAY UPDATE: Hurricane Delta is a Cat2 Hurricane this morning and is anticipated to strengthen to a Category 3 Hurricane with 115mph tonight into Friday as it heads toward Louisiana. However, some cooler shelf waters around the Louisiana Coast may cause the system to weaken a bit to possible a strong Cat2 storm with around 100mph winds as it makes landfall Friday afternoon. The cone is tightening around the same area Hurricane Laura around six weeks ago.

Our impacts remain very minimal with high surf and rip currents as our main threats. We’ll see some scattered afternoon storms today and Friday, with a band of scattered storms expected Saturday as well. However, while some isolated storms may produce heavy rain, we’re only expecting to see around 1-2″ today through Saturday.

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8PM WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Hurricane Delta has reemerged in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to strengthen over the next 24hrs as it has less shear to deal with and warm, deep water. The current forecast has it getting back to a major hurricane before weakening a tad before landfall thanks to new shear and cooler water temperatures. Regardless, the storm will have a large impact where it hit along the northern Gulf Coast on Friday.

The main impacts from Delta will be mostly west of our area with the mainly impacted expected to be large surf/rip currents. We will see some rain mostly on Saturday as a line of storms slides east as Delta heads NE.as it makes the short trek over the Yucatan Peninsula and into the Southern Gulf later today.

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8AM WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Hurricane Delta ran into some unexpected shear just before making landfall along the Northeastern Yucatan Peninsula early Wednesday morning causing the storm to weaken to a Category 2 Hurricane with 110mph winds at landfall. We’ll see the system likely maintain its Category2 strength or weaken some as it makes the short trek over the Yucatan Peninsula and into the Southern Gulf later today.

Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, mid 80s, and a lack of shear and dry air will allow Delta to regain strength, becoming a major hurricane once again as it treks through the West-Central Gulf by Thursday. Delta may even strengthen back to a Category4 storm with 130mph winds late Thursday into Friday as it takes a more northerly turn and a heading toward Louisiana. However, a bit cooler shelf waters off the coast of Louisiana in the low 80s, and an expected return of some wind shear, may cause the storm to weaken as it makes landfall in Louisiana. Landfall appears to happen Friday afternoon in Louisiana as a Cat3 major hurricane with 115mph winds.

After landfall, the storm is expected to maintain a north-northeasterly track heading toward northern Mississippi and Tennessee as a weak tropical low Friday night into Saturday. By Saturday a tail end band of storms from Delta will trek across the Northern Gulf Coast states and pass through NWFL bringing likely showers and thunderstorms and some breezy winds.

However, our impacts are going to be very low. In fact, we may get more rain from afternoon storms today through Friday, than that of the passing band on Saturday. Rain totals from today through Friday could reach 1-2″ for those who get a scattered afternoon storm. Saturday’s accumulations may add another inch. Winds will get breezy at 10-20mph, but only a 10% chance for a breeze over 35mph. High surf, rip currents, and some beach erosion will be of concern, with only minor storm surge around 1 to maybe 2 feet.

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10PM TUESDAY UPDATE: Delta underwent rapid intensification today and reached 145 mph and is a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. As of the 10pm advisory the storm weakened just a bit to 130 mph. The storm will hit the Yucatan overnight.

No significant changes in the track have occurred today, but a continued small westward shift continued Tuesday. The storm will briefly weaken after hitting the Yucatan... then strengthen in the Gulf before weakening a little thanks to shear and cooler waters. The center will likely strike somewhere along the Louisiana coastline Friday night/Saturday morning as a Category 3.

If the storm stays that far west of Northwest Florida we can expect to see here...

1. 1-2″ of rain Saturday/Sunday

2. Large surf, some beach erosion, and minor storm surge

3. No significant wind (20mph)

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10 AM TUESDAY UPDATE: Not much has changed from our Monday 7PM Update other than strength of the storm as it rapidly intensifies in the warmer Caribbean waters. As of Tuesday morning Delta is a Cat4 hurricane with winds of 130mph and is still trekking toward the Yucatan Peninsula. We are continuing to see a slight shift in track to the west. That will do two things for us here in NWFL.

Number 1, it appears as though the turn to the north, and eventual northeast come Thursday, should happen a bit more in the Western Gulf as opposed to the Central Gulf. Which would put a landfall more so toward the Central or Western Gulf around Louisiana Friday night. However, we still need to stay on guard with what northerly turn we see on Thursday as that could make the difference still in exact landfall location and impacts on NWFL.

Number 2, it’ll likely mean impacts for here will be a bit later Friday night into Saturday before things clear out on Sunday. At this point, it still appears to be a minor wind threat for NWFL and more so a batch of heavy rain with potential for severe weather Friday night into Saturday, as well as, a dangerous surf and rip current risk.

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7 PM MONDAY UPDATE: Gamma is a depression and continues to weaken as it heads south toward the Yucatan Peninsula over the next 24. The storm is expected to become a remnant low.

Meanwhile Delta is now a hurricane and is rapidly strengthening as it heads toward the Southern Gulf of Mexico. For now the storm is forecast to become a major, category 3, hurricane as early as Tuesday. The storm is expected to eventually turn north and then northeast near and after landfall. The timing of that turn will be critical as to how close it gets to NWFL and what kind of impacts we could see here.

The morning model runs were slightly more west and the official forecast was pushed a little west as well. Keep in mind the cone of uncertainty does come as far east as Okaloosa County. Typically, storms travel inside the cone 2/3 of the time, but 1/3 of the time they do not. Also, the biggest impacts are typically on the eastern side of the storm. So, for our area we can not let our guard down as significant impacts from the storm can not be ruled out right now.

We do know the following...

1. Large Surf/Rip Currents Will Be A Threat

2. Heavy rain is possible over NWFL w/heavier rain west and less east

3. Storm Surge - too early to say

4. Severe Weather - too early to say

10 AM MONDAY UPDATE: Gamma continues to weaken as it heads south toward the Yucatan Peninsula over the next 24-48hrs where it will diminish just as Tropical Storm Delta heads toward the Southern Gulf as a category 1 hurricane. Further strengthening to a category 2 hurricane is forecast, but strength and eventual landfall somewhere along the Northern Gulf Coast remains uncertain at this early stage. At this point, tropical storm conditions are possible in NWFL by Friday with heavy rain the primary threat if Delta were to make landfall in Louisiana. However, any landfall further west would limit rainfall amounts. Yet, any shifts in track to the east would increase our heavy rainfall threat, as well as, wind threat across NWFL. Keep checking back in as the forecast cone narrows into the days ahead, and impacts become more clear for NWFL.

Tropical Storm Delta may impact the Northern Gulf Coast as a hurricane later this week.
Tropical Storm Delta may impact the Northern Gulf Coast as a hurricane later this week.(WJHG)

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6:00 PM SUNDAY UPDATE: Gamma has weakened to 60 mph winds and has raised in regard to pressure, but other threats are looming in the Caribbean. Invest 92-L, which has become Potential Tropical Cyclone 26, is expected to make its way into the southern Gulf of Mexico over the next few days. It has an 80% chance of development over the next two days, and would become Tropical Storm Delta. At this point, it is forecasted to become a hurricane as it approaches the Gulf Coast. We will be watching it closely over the coming days.

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5:30 PM SATURDAY UPDATE: Tropical Storm Gamma remains a tropical storm with 70 mph winds moving to the northwest at nine miles per hour, with a minimum central pressure of 980 mb.

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Tropical Storm Gamma formed Friday evening after first turning into a Tropical Depression earlier Friday morning in the Caribbean Sea. Gamma has sustained winds of 40mph and is moving NW at 9 mph. The forecast calls for a large ridge of high pressure to build over the storm and gradually push it west into the Bay of Campeche next week. For now it looks like the storm will remain bottled up there or gradually get pushed into Mexico.

In behind Gamma is another area of low pressure that has a 40% chance of development and possibly poses more of a threat to the northern Gulf late next week if it can develop. That remains a big if, but certainly we need to watch both areas closely. For now though... time is on our side.

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