Hurricane Delta on Wednesday morning made landfall in Mexico near Puerto Morelos in the Yucatan Peninsula, coming in as a powerful Category 2 storm.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), in its latest update at 8:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday morning, the storm was about 35 miles west of Cancun and was bringing maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. The storm, at that time, was moving northwest at 17 mph.
For right now, the NHC has Hurricane Warnings in effect for the area in Mexico between Tulum and Dzilam, along with Cozumel. It also has a Tropical Storm Warning in effect for the Pinar Del Rio province in Cuba, Punta Herrero to Tulum in Mexico, and Dzilam to Progreso in Mexico.
While winds will be a huge concern for those in Delta’s wake, the NHC is also warning about heavy rain and “a life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels in areas of onshore winds by as much as 6 to 9 feet above normal” in the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and five to seven feet above normal tide levels along the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.
The storm is expected to weaken as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico later Wednesday, but could re-strengthen and possibly become a Category 4 hurricane by Thursday night, the NHC said. When it does make landfall in the U.S., it will be the 10th storm to do so this hurricane season, a record for one single season.
The most vulnerable area for the current path of the story could be Cancun and the Riviera Maya—Quintana Roo Gov. Carlos Joaquín said on Tuesday that residents need to be aware of the potential of Hurricane Delta and called it “a strong, powerful hurricane.”
Cancun has moved to clear much of the hotel zone and get tourists to 160 in-land shelters that have been constructed, including the Cancun Convention Center where close to 500 tourists were spending the night on Tuesday, and the Technological Institute of Cancun campus, where guests from the Fiesta Americana Condesa hotel were spending the night, according to the AP.
Most airlines have added Cancun to their change-fee waiver list, including American Airlines (through Oct. 8), Delta (through Oct. 8), United (Oct. 7), Southwest (Oct. 7), JetBlue (Oct. 7), and Frontier (Oct 8).