Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Home
  • News
  • Weekly Weather Event -Week of October 5th

Weekly Weather Event -Week of October 5th

October 9, 2020

As this article is being written, Hurricane Delta is fast approaching the U.S Gulf Coast, likely to make landfall within the afternoon hours of Friday, October 9th. Currently, Hurricane Delta is a Category 3 hurricane, expected to bring impacts to nearly all the Louisiana coast, Southern Mississippi, and portions of Texas. These are the same regions that were hit by Hurricane Laura almost six weeks ago, and this storm system marks the sixth tropical system to impact the Louisiana coast this year.

Though Hurricane Delta will be reaching the United States as a Category 3 hurricane, this storm system was originally much stronger. In the span of 36 hours, an unnamed tropical depression with 35 mph wind speeds rapidly intensified to a 140 mph Category 4 Hurricane. Delta then weakened to a Category 2 hurricane before making landfall over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, bringing heavy rain and flash flooding. This temporarily weakened Hurricane Delta, dropping wind speeds to 85 mph as it passed over land. However, once Delta moved into the Gulf of Mexico, it intensified back up to 115 mph within the span of 24 hours.

The National Hurricane Center defines rapid intensification as “an increase in the maximum sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 30 [knots] in a 24-[hour] period.” This rapid intensification of hurricanes is more common in recent decades, bringing concerns to meteorologists and hurricane scientists. The more rapidly a hurricane intensifies, the less time there is to warn and prepare for evacuations, and the number of rapidly intensifying storms has nearly doubled since 1982. These trends are largely attributed to climate change, as warmer waters increase the fuel needed to drive a rapid intensification in a tropical cyclone.

We recommend staying up to date with alerts as this event continues to develop.