NBC News- Atlantic hurricane season continues to break records with Tropical Storm Delta becoming the earliest 25th named storm on record and is on track to be the 10th storm to make U.S. landfall this season.
The previous 25th named storm record was set on Nov. 15, 2005. Also, when Delta makes landfall this week, it will be the first time on record that 10 storms have made landfall in the U.S. in one season.
The newest storm was named Monday morning and, as of the National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. advisory, it was 130 miles south of Negril, Jamaica, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and traveling west-northwest at 9 mph. A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the western tip of Cuba, and Tropical Storm Warnings were up for the Cayman Islands and parts of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Delta will remain at tropical storm strength throughout Monday, is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane by Tuesday and a Category 2 hurricane by late Wednesday or early Thursday. The storm is expected to make landfall along the northern Gulf Coast by Friday.
Over the next 24-36 hours, Delta will bring 3 to 5 inches of rain, locally up to 8 inches, to parts of Jamaica and western Cuba that could lead to flash flooding. Strong winds and 3 to 5 feet of storm surge will also be possible for the areas under the watches and warnings.
By late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning the storm is forecast to move into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, and this is when people along the Gulf Coast will really need to start paying close attention. The system is forecast to approach the northern Gulf Coast late this week as a hurricane. While there is large uncertainty in the track and intensity forecasts, there is a risk of dangerous storm surge, wind and heavy rain along the coast from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle.
When Delta enters the northwest Caribbean Sea, warm waters will combine with favorable atmospheric conditions of weak wind shear and ample moisture that will be conducive to significant strengthening. While waters will remain warm in the central Gulf, sea surface temperatures close to the coast are significantly cooler due to upwelling from previous storms and the fall cold fronts that have made it all the way to the Gulf. Cooler waters immediately along the coast may help weaken Delta prior to landfall. This would be a shift from what other storms have done this season, like Laura and Sally, both of which intensified up until landfall.
Delta is forecast to become the 10th tropical system to make landfall on the mainland U.S. this season, breaking the 1916 record of nine landfalling storms. And Tropical Storm Gamma is also spinning around the Yucatan Peninsula.
Over the weekend, Gamma became the earliest 24th named storm on record, beating the previous record set on Oct. 27, 2005.
By early Monday, it had unleashed torrential downpours causing life-threatening flash flooding and landslides for portions of Mexico.
As of 8 a.m. Monday, Gamma had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, was 165 miles northeast of Progreso, Mexico, and moving west-southwest at 2 mph. Tropical Storm Warnings remained in effect for portions of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Due to its slow forward motion, Gamma is expected to continue to produce 3 to 5 inches of rain, locally higher up to 8 inches, through midweek over portions of southeast Mexico, which could result in significant flash flooding and landslides. Tropical storm force winds are also likely for the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula through Monday. Gamma is expected to meander around the Yucatan as a tropical storm and will likely weaken to a tropical depression through midweek.
But even after Gamma dissipates, its story may not be over. Later in the week, what’s left of Gamma could end up interacting and/or getting absorbed by the stronger and larger Delta.