Delta Strengthens Back to a Major Hurricane

Hurricane Delta strengthened back to a major hurricane on Thursday afternoon.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Delta was located at latitude 24.8°N and longitude 93.4°W which put it about 345 miles (555 km) south of Cameron, Louisiana.  Delta was moving toward the northwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 115 m.p.h. (185 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 135 m.p.h. (220 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 959 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from High Island, Texas to Morgan City, Louisiana.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from Sargent to High Island, Texas and from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Mouth of the Pearl River.  The Tropical Storm Warning includes New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.

Hurricane Delta strengthened steadily on Thursday.  A circular eye with a diameter of 35 miles (55 km) formed at the center of Delta.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Delta.  Storms near the core generated upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the hurricane.  The removal of mass allowed the surface pressure to decrease and the wind speed to increase.

The circulation around Hurricane Delta increased in size on Thursday.  Winds to hurricane force extended out 35 miles (55 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 160 miles (260 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Delta was 20.6.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 12.7 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 33.3.  Delta was capable of causing regional major damage.

Hurricane Delta will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 12 to 18 hours.  Delta will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Delta will continue to intensify in the short term and it could reach Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

Hurricane Delta will move around the western end of a high pressure system on Friday.  The high will steer Delta toward the north.  An upper level trough over the south central U.S. will turn Delta toward the north-northeast on Friday afternoon.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Delta will make landfall on the coast of Louisiana late on Friday afternoon or on Friday evening.

Hurricane Delta could hit the same area southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana that was affected by Hurricane Laura.  Delta will bring strong winds and heavy rain to Louisiana.  It could cause a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) along the coast.  A number of structures in the region have temporary blue tarps in place of permanent roofs.  Hurricane Delta could cause more than the usually expected wind and rain damage in areas affected by Hurricane Laura.  There are also likely to be widespread power outages in the area.

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