WEATHER

Hurricane Delta makes landfall in Mexico as a Category 2

Oct 7, 2020, 5:35 AM | Updated: 5:50 am
This Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, satellite image released by NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data ...
This Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, satellite image released by NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) shows Tropical Storm Gamma, left, which soaked part of Mexico over the weekend and a strengthening Hurricane Delta, lower right, which is on a course to pass by the Cayman Islands early Tuesday. (NASA via AP)
(NASA via AP)

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Delta made landfall in Mexico Wednesday as an extremely dangerous Category 2 storm, coming ashore near Puerto Morelos along the northeastern coast of Yucatan Peninsula.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said satellite imagery, radar data from Cuba and surface observations in Mexico indicate that the center of Delta came ashore around 5:30 a.m. local time sustaining top winds of 110 mph (175 kmh).

Quintana Roo Gov. Carlos Joaquín warned residents and tourists that “it is a strong, powerful hurricane.” He considered it a good sign that Delta had weakened a bit late Tuesday, but said the area hadn’t seen a storm like it since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

Delta had increased in strength by 80 mph in just 24 hours, and its top winds peaked at 145 mph (230 kph) before it weakened as it neared the shore. Forecasters warned it was still an extremely dangerous storm nevertheless, with a life-threatening storm surge that could raise water levels 9 to 13 feet (2.7 to 4 meters), along with large and dangerous waves and flash flooding inland.

Thousands of Quintana Roo residents and tourists were hunkering down in government shelters. Everyone had been ordered off the streets by 7 p.m.

The evacuations of low lying areas, islands and the coastline expanded as Delta exploded over the warm Caribbean waters offshore. Much of Cancun’s hotel zone was cleared out as guests were bused to inland shelters. In Cancun alone, the government opened 160 shelters.

Some 300 guests and nearly 200 staff from the Fiesta Americana Condesa hotel were taken to the Technological Institute of Cancun campus. All wearing masks, they spread out on thin mattresses in a classroom building and tried to get comfortable as workers boarded up the building’s windows in a light rain. Some played cards or watched videos on their phones, while others called relatives.

“The hotel has done a good job of making sure that we were provided for and that we’re going to be safe here in this place, so we don’t have any concerns at all,” said Shawn Sims, a tourist from Dallas sheltering with his wife, Rashonda Cooper, and their sons, 7-year-old Liam and 4-year-old Easton.

“This is my first (hurricane) experience, but I see that these guys have a plan and they know what they’re doing,” Sims said.

State tourism officials said more than 40,000 tourists were in Quintana Roo, a fraction of what would normally be there. Delta’s damage comes on top of months of pandemic-induced lockdown that has devastated the state’s tourism industry.

At the Cancun Convention Center, 400 tourists from hotels and rental properties bunked for the night.

“We hope that in this place we are surely much safer,” Quintana Roo Tourism Secretary Marisol Vanegas said. “This is a structure that has withstood other hurricanes.”

Delta was forecast to spend several hours lashing the Yucatan Peninsula before moving into the Gulf of Mexico and growing into a “considerably larger” storm before striking the U.S. Gulf coast. People in Louisiana or Mississippi should prepare now for hurricane-force winds to begin hitting their coastlines on Friday, the hurricane center advised.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Delta was expected to make landfall there Friday night or Saturday morning and the entire state is in the storm’s possible path. State and local officials in coastal areas were shoring up levees, sandbagging and taking other protections measures, he said.

Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Laura, which ravaged the southwestern region as it roared ashore as a Category 4 storm in August. More than 6,600 Laura evacuees remain in hotels around the state, mainly in New Orleans, because their homes are too heavily damaged to return.

Mexico put the commander of its navy in charge of the federal response. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Tuesday that 5,000 federal troops and emergency personnel were being made available in Quintana Roo to aid in storm efforts.

Juan Carlos Avila arrived at the Technological Institute of Cancun shelter with his seven-months pregnant wife, Joselyn, and their 3-year-old-son, Alexander. He said the staff had made them comfortable and seemed well prepared.

The family, which lives in Miami, had been in Cancun a week and already went through Tropical Storm Gamma, which soaked the area over the weekend.

“We’ve practically lived in storms during our stay here in Cancun,” Avila said.

___

Associated Press writers Gabriel Alcocer in Cancun and Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, La. contributed to this report.

Today’s Top Stories

Weather

Portions of Salt Lake County saw fog on Tuesday morning, a weather phenomenon that doesn't typicall...
Allie Litzinger and Simone Seikaly

Great Salt Lake, moisture created Tuesday’s commuter fog and maybe Wednesday’s

Moisture in the air and proximity to the Great Salt Lake, and the lake's temperature, all combined for Tuesday's foggy commute.
1 day ago
A snowy mountain with trees is pictured, avalanche risk is measured often this time of year...
Adam Small

How do forecasters determine avalanche risk?

Determining the avalanche risk for any given day takes coordination between avalanche forecasters and the National Weather Service.
1 day ago
The view at Snowbasin Resort....
Alejandro Lucero

Avalanche safety should be on everyone’s mind says forecaster

An avalanche avoidance and preperation can help keep everyone safe while enjoying the greatest snow on Earth.
2 days ago
drivers make a snowy commute up little cottonwood canyon as utah weather keeps dumping snow...
Adam Small

Wasatch Front gets snow, Utah drivers get tough commute

Snowy weather conditions brought early-morning drivers in Utah some rough commutes on Monday. Utah County got the worst of it.
2 days ago
Hari Bastakoti shovels a sidewalk following a snowstorm in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022...
Chandler Holt

After a cold November, Utah prepares for another storm

After a colder November than years past, a cold front (potentially bringing storm conditions) is on the horizon for Utah.
3 days ago
(Photo courtesy of Snowbird Ski Resort)...
Chandler Holt

Avalanche at Snowbird caused by skier, no injuries

On Saturday, an avalanche roared down the slopes at Snowbird Ski Resort. Several people were caught and carried by the avalanche, but no one was buried.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Hurricane Delta makes landfall in Mexico as a Category 2