Hurricane Delta Grows to Category 4 Storm on Path to US Gulf Coast and Florida’s Panhandle

A worker secures a dock before Hurricane Delta arrives near Playa del Carmen, Mexico. / AP

Hurricane Delta intensified into a Category 4 storm with 130-mph winds Tuesday on a course to deliver a blow to southeastern Mexico on its path to the US Gulf Coast and Florida’s western panhandle, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“There is a significant risk of dangerous storm surge, wind and rainfall hazards along the coast from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle beginning Thursday night or Friday,” the NHC said at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The hurricane — which is moving west-northwest at 16 mph — is expected to move into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday night, forecasters said.

Delta, which was identified as a tropical storm late Monday, developed into a hurricane in the fastest intensification observed in a 24-hour period for an October storm in the Atlantic since 2005’s Hurricane Wilma, according to meteorologist Philip Klotzbach, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Klotzbach, of Colorado State University, earlier said Delta’s 115-mph winds tied it with 2005′s Hurricane Beta for the strongest winds of a Greek alphabet-named Atlantic hurricane.

The immediate worst impacts were expected along the resort-filled northeastern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. From Tulum to Cancun, communities still being soaked by the remnants of Tropical Storm Gamma could bear the brunt of the storm.

On Tuesday, long lines stretched at supermarkets, lumber yards and gas stations in Cancun as residents scrambled for provisions under mostly sunny skies.

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SOURCE: New York Post, Yaron Steinbuch