Storm Delta forecast to hit hurricane strength on approach to Gulf Coast landfall

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The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is still in its peak and despite a week or more of quieter conditions the tropics have become active again, as tropical storm Delta becomes the 25th named storm of the year and is forecast to become hurricane Delta as it moves across the Gulf of Mexico towards another United States landfall.

Update, October 6th: Delta intensified rapidly into a hurricane and is now forecast to reach major Category 3 or stronger as it approaches Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. As we explained today, this now puts the World Bank’s FONDEN 2020 catastrophe bond on-watch.

Original article: Tropical storm Delta is the earliest formation of a 25th named Atlantic storm in any season in history, with the previous earliest having been November 15th.

While the Gulf Of Mexico sea surface temperatures are cooler than a few weeks ago, tropical storm Delta is still forecast to reach hurricane strength as it moves generally north towards making landfall on the central Gulf Coast.

Once again, New Orleans is currently right in the middle of tropical storm Delta’s cone of uncertainty, with forecasts suggesting Delta could reach Category 1 or 2 hurricane strength by the time it approaches the U.S. coast.

It’s much too early to forecast potential impacts for insurance and reinsurance interests, but this could be the tenth U.S. named tropical storm landfall of 2020, adding to the aggregation of losses from the named storm peril.

Tropical storm or hurricane Delta tracking map and forecast path

Tropical storm Delta is currently sitting to the southwest of Jamaica and heading northwest towards the Cayman Islands which are likely to experience tropical storm conditions as Delta passes across the region.

Hurricane Delta is then forecast to be named as the storm moves on northwest towards the tip of Cuba where it could make landfall, before heading into the Gulf of Mexico where Delta is expected to maintain its hurricane status and veer north towards the U.S. shore.

Tropical storm Delta is currently only packing 40 mph sustained winds with higher gusts. But strengthening is forecast across the next few days and hurricane Delta seems a certainty at some stage on Tuesday, with intensification expected as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico.

On the latest forecast, hurricane Delta is expected to near the Gulf Coast, somewhere around the New Orleans or central Louisiana region on Friday.

Tropical storm force winds could begin impacting the region from as early as late Wednesday though, according to NOAA forecasts.

As the image below from Tropical Tidbits shows, modelled forecast guidance on the intensity of hurricane Delta is still mixed and as a result a stronger landfalling storm cannot be ruled out at this stage.

Tropical storm or hurricane Delta modelled intensity guidance

Insurance and reinsurance interests will be watching closely as tropical storm Delta intensifies and moves towards the U.S. coastline.

The number of hurricane landfalls in the U.S. is building in 2020, with Delta looking set to be the fifth hurricane force storm to impact the United States this year, if the forecast holds true.

Track the 2020 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season with our dedicated page.

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