Tropical Storm Delta Forms in Caribbean; Could Pose a Hurricane Threat to U.S. Gulf Coast

Published in 5 October, 2020

At a Glance

  • Tropical Storm Delta is tracking through the Caribbean.

  • Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and western Cuba will be the first areas impacted by this system.

  • Delta could be a hurricane threat to the U.S. Gulf Coast late in the week.

  • Interests from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle should monitor the progress of this system closely.

Tropical Storm Delta has formed in the Caribbean Sea and it could pose a potential hurricane threat to the U.S. Gulf Coast by later this week. Delta will also impact multiple land areas in the northwest Caribbean for the next couple of days. Forecast Timing, Intensity Tropical Storm Delta is centered near Jamaica right now and is moving to the west-northwest near 10 mph. Delta will continue to push west-northwestward over the next several days, and conditions are expected to become more conducive for intensification. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Delta to become a hurricane as soon as later Tuesday when it moves near western Cuba. Delta could interact with Tropical Storm Gamma for a period of time later Tuesday through Wednesday as it tracks into the Gulf of Mexico. That interaction might have some effect on the future track and intensity of Delta, however, details are uncertain. Forecast guidance shows that Delta will eventually turn more northward toward the U.S. Gulf Coast late in the week. Where that northward turn occurs will determine what areas see the greatest potential impacts, most likely somewhere from Louisiana into the Florida Panhandle. Delta is expected to be a Category 1 or 2 hurricane when it nears the U.S. Gulf Coast sometime later Thursday through Friday. However, the intensify forecast is still uncertain since this system could face increasingly unfavorable upper-level winds and cooler waters as it draws closer to the U.S.

Potential Impacts

Strong winds and heavy rain will be possible across portions of Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands during the next few days.

A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet above normal tide levels along the southern coast of western Cuba and on the Isle of Youth.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Cayman Islands where tropical storm conditions are expected beginning late Monday.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the Isle of Youth and the Cuba provinces of Pinar del Rio and Artemisa in western Cuba, where hurricane conditions are possible by Tuesday afternoon. A tropical storm watch has been issued for the Cuban province of La Habana.

U.S. Gulf Coast

It’s too early to determine specific forecast impacts from Delta on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

As mentioned earlier, Delta could be a Category 1 or 2 hurricane when it approaches the northern Gulf Coast late in the week.

A dangerous storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall could threaten a part of the northern Gulf Coast. Those potential impacts are most likely to occur somewhere from Louisiana into the Florida Panhandle.

Residents along the northern Gulf Coast should update themselves on the forecast multiple times a day this week since forecast changes are likely.

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