TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane Delta emerged into the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and headed toward Louisiana after making landfall just south of the Mexican resort of Cancun, toppling trees and cutting power to residents of the Yucatan peninsula’s resort-studded coast.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Delta made landfall along the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, near Puerto Morelos, around 6:30 a.m. ET. It was a Category 2 hurricane at landfall with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph.
By 11 a.m. ET, the NHC said Delta was about to emerge off the coast of the peninsula and start moving over the Gulf. The storm is forecast to move over the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday and Thursday and then approach the northern Gulf Coast on Friday.
Maximum sustained winds had weakened to 105 mph after landfall with some higher gusts, but the NHC said re-strengthening is expected when Delta moves over the Gulf. It is expected to become a major hurricane again, according to the latest NHC advisory.
“Delta is forecast to move inland within the hurricane watch area by late Friday or Friday night,” the NHC said.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Delta was expected to make landfall there Friday night or Saturday morning and the entire state is in the storm’s possible path. State and local officials in coastal areas were shoring up levees, sandbagging and taking other protections measures, he said.
Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Laura, which ravaged the southwestern region as it roared ashore as a Category 4 storm in August. More than 6,600 Laura evacuees remain in hotels around the state, mainly in New Orleans, because their homes are too heavily damaged to return.
Delta could make landfall, possibly as a Category 3 storm, sometime Friday south of Morgan City, Louisiana.
A hurricane watch has already been issued for a stretch of the Gulf Coast – from High Island, Texas to Grand Isle, Louisiana. A storm surge watch has also been issued for most of the northern Gulf Coast from High Island, Texas to the border of Florida and Alabama.
According to the latest NHC advisory, Delta is forecast to produce 4 to 8 inches of rain along parts of the Gulf Coast, with isolated maximum totals of 12 inches. That rain is expected to cause flash, urban, small stream and minor river flooding from Friday through Saturday.
Storm Surge Watch in effect for:
- High Island, Texas to the Alabama/Florida border including Calcasieu Lake, Vermilion Bay, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, Lake Borgne and Mobile Bay
Hurricane Warning in effect for:
- Tulum to Dzilam, Mexico
Hurricane Watch in effect for:
- High Island, Texas to Grand Isle, Louisiana
Tropical Storm Warning in effect for:
- Dzilam to Progreso, Mexico
Tropical Storm Watch in effect for:
- San Luis Pass to west of High Island, Texas
- East of Grand Isle, Louisiana to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi including New Orleans
- Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas