Tropical Storm Delta could hit the US as a hurricane this week

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This is only the second time Greek letter Delta has been used for any named storm and it is the earliest-ever 25th Atlantic storm. The previous was Delta on November 15, 2005.

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

The track of Tropical Storm Delta will bring it near the Cayman Islands in about 24 hours and Cuba’s western tip later on Tuesday.

This has prompted a tropical storm warning for the Cayman Islands to be issued. A hurricane watch is posted for western Cuba.

Further strengthening is expected in the next several days as the storm moves into the Gulf of Mexico.

“Some robust intensification” could occur, says the National Hurricane Center.

Delta is expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday and strike the US Gulf Coast late in the week.

“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.

But weather phenomena could keep Delta from being a major hurricane — category 3 or higher — when it hits the US later this week.

Wind shear — the changing of wind speed and direction with height — and dry air could limit hurricane growth.

“Most models do lower the intensity of Delta as is approaches the Gulf Coast, but if Delta grows into a major hurricane for a time, the storm surge will still be a huge threat even if wind speeds go down,” Myers says.

But there is another variable meteorologists are monitoring; Delta’s interaction with Gamma, which is still drifting north of the Yucatan Peninsula.
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This makes predicting Delta’s path a little bit tricky.

“Interaction with Tropical Storm Gamma or its remnants, which could result in a sharp westward jog, after which a sharp turn back toward the northwest could occur,” the National Hurricane said.

The National Hurricane Center forecast cone stretches from the Texas/Louisiana border to the Florida Panhandle, centered on eastern Louisiana.
If Delta makes landfall in the US, it will be the first time a storm with a Greek letter does so in the US.

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