TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season continues to stay busy.
Tuesday morning, the National Hurricane Center reported that Delta strengthened into a category 3 hurricane.
Roughly 20 minutes after their 11 a.m. update, the NHC reported that Delta had rapidly strengthened into a "dangerous" category 4 hurricane.
As of the 5 p.m. update, Delta is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph. A northwestward motion is expected to begin later Tuesday through Wednesday night.
A west-northwestward to northwestward motion is expected over the next couple of days. A slower northwestward to north-northwest motion is forecast to begin on Thursday, and a northward motion is expected Thursday night and Friday.
On the forecast track, the center of Delta will move over the northeastern portion of the Yucatan peninsula late Tuesday night or early Wednesday.
Delta is forecast to move over the southern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday afternoon, be over the southern or central Gulf of Mexico through Thursday, and approach the northern Gulf coast on Friday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 145 mph (230 km/h) with higher gusts.
Some additional strengthening is possible before the center reaches the coast Yucatan peninsula Wednesday.
Although some weakening is likely when Delta moves over the Yucatan peninsula, re-strengthening is forecast when the hurricane moves over the southern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday night and Thursday.
While it is still too soon to determine the magnitude of the impacts across our local area, there is a risk of heavy rainfall across portions of the Florida panhandle and southeast Alabama, where rivers are still running above normal from last month's heavy rainfall.
It is a bit too soon to speculate on exact rainfall amounts, which will depend on the system's track and structure as it approaches the northern Gulf Coast.
A track farther east would significantly increase our local impacts with an increased threat of gusty winds and tornadoes, while a track farther west would result in fewer impacts. Attached is our evening graphic depicting the latest information from the National Hurricane Center.