Hurricane Delta Forms, Now Expected to Get Stronger And Hit Gulf Coast

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) on Monday night upgraded Tropical Storm Delta to a Category 1 hurricane. It is now expected gain strength across the Gulf of Mexico as it moves toward the U.S. coastline, with an expected landfall Thursday night or Friday.

During its 8 p.m. advisory, NHC stated that Delta has reached maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, and that it's located in the northwest sector of the Caribbean Sea. The agency said the storm is moving WNW at 8 mph and will have a "dangerous storm surge and hurricane conditions" within a few hours along Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. This storm is expected to be a heavy rain producer for the peninsula.

Delta's final cone path is uncertain at the time, but models have it making landfall from the Texas-Louisiana border at the Sabine Pass all the way east to the western Florida panhandle.

The NHC advises residents in those areas to begin making hurricane preparations as soon as possible.

Hurricane Delta
Hurricane Sally passed through Orange Beach, Alabama in September, leaving thousands without power. Hurricane Delta became a Category 1 storm Monday night, and it's expected to make landfall Thursday or Friday, with a cone path that stretches from Texas to the Florida panhandle. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Delta is the 25th named storm this season in the Atlantic basin, and 2020 is already three shy of the busiest storm season on record. The record was set in 2005. However, in that season, there had only been 20 named storms by October 5, which makes 2020 a season on pace to break the old record.

Upgrading Delta to a hurricane comes a few of hours after downgrading Tropical Storm Gamma to a tropical depression. Gamma is currently in the southern Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatan Peninsula. Its track shows it to make a westward turn, and then head south into Mexico.

The 2020 Atantic storm season has been so busy that the list of planned names has already been exhausted, at which point the next named storms take on the letters from the Greek alphabet. The next named storms would be: Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta and Iota. Alpha and Beta have already fizzled out after reaching their maximum strengths.

Greek or planned, the southern coast of the United States probably doesn't want any part of tropical systems the remainder of this hurricane season. Hurricane Hanna hit south Texas, Hurricane Laura lashed southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas as a powerful category 4 storm in late August, and Hurricane Sally battered the coastline from New Orleans to Pensacola, Florida as a high-level Category 2 storm in September.

Tropical Storm Beta drenched the Texas coast, specifically Galveston and the Greater Houston area, late last month.

The Weather Channel on Monday said that "it's plausible this season may generate over 30 storms by season's end."