Hurricane Delta from the satellite. (The Associated Press)
Hurricane Delta quickly reached Category 2 on Tuesday morning, with winds of 100 miles per hour (mph) en route to southeastern Mexico . It was expected to reach the US coast later this week.
As Delta moved west on Monday, Cuba lowered a hurricane watch in its western province of Pinar del Río to put it on a tropical storm watch . Cayman Islands also issued a storm warning, which affected Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.
The storm was expected to hit the extreme northeast of the Yucatan Peninsula, an area of Mexico dotted with tourist areas and where hurricane conditions were expected since Tuesday night . Forecasts suggested that the meteor would make landfall on Wednesday morning.
There was a hurricane watch for Tulum and Cozumel, resorts still affected by the rains from Tropical Storm Gamma.
Delta will continue to gain strength as its speed increases, according to data from a US Air Force Reserve hurricane survey plane . It is expected to be a powerful hurricane when it hits the Yucatan before reaching the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday.
Experts warned of an extremely dangerous storm surge, which could raise the water level by 6 to 9 feet, accompanied by large and dangerous waves and flash flooding.
The hurricane “does present a significant danger to coastal areas” due to the storm surge in low-lying areas of Quintana Roo, such as the touristy Cancun, or the islands of Holbox or Isla Mujeres, as he emphasized in a press conference on Monday. night, Jorge Zavala, head of the Mexican meteorological service.
Preventive evacuations would begin Tuesday morning, Zavala said.
The hurricane is moving into an area with very warm water, calm high winds, which meteorologists at the US Hurricane Center described as “a very conducive environment for it to strengthen.”
Downtown Delta was about 420 miles east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico early Monday, moving west-northwest at 15 mph .
After passing through Mexico, Delta is expected to make landfall around Friday in the central US coast of the Gulf of Mexico and dump heavy rains in the southeastern United States.
Delta is the earliest storm to rank 25th for the season in the Atlantic, beating the record from November 15, 2005, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.