Hurricane Delta, which has weakened to a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, is still on track to approach the northern Gulf coast on Friday and strengthen, according to the latest update from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The potential course of the hurricane has meant disruption to the oil industry, with a number of companies shutting down offshore production platforms and withdrawing workers.
Hurricane Delta formed on Tuesday October 6 south of Jamaica.
According to the NHC, on its current forecast track, the centre of Delta will move over the north-eastern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula this morning. Delta is forecast to move over the southern Gulf of Mexico this afternoon, be over the southern or central Gulf of Mexico through Thursday, and approach the northern Gulf coast on Friday.
Although maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 120 mph with higher gusts, little change in strength is expected before the centre reaches the coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Although some weakening is likely when Delta moves over the Yucatan peninsula, re-strengthening is forecast when the hurricane moves over the southern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday night and Thursday.
In the Yucatan Peninsula, extremely dangerous hurricane conditions are expected in portions of the warning area during the next several hours, with tropical storm conditions beginning in the next few hours. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the tropical storm warning area overnight. In Cuba, tropical storm conditions are expected overnight in the warning area.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles.
Hurricane Delta is the twenty-fifth named storm of the 2020 North Atlantic hurricane season.