(Reuters) – The hurricane, the 25th named Atlantic storm this year, is moving toward the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to hit the Gulf Coast this week as a major hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said. .
If Delta hits the U.S. Gulf Coast, it would break a record dating back to 1916 for the most named storms to hit the United States, another milestone in a year marked by repeated natural disasters, ranging from floods. to forest fires to tornadoes.
This year's named storms to date have cost about $ 9 billion in insured losses, compared to $ 75 billion in 2017, according to Andrew Siffert, vice president of reinsurance agency BMS Group.
Delta was expected to drop heavy rain on the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula and ascend the Gulf of Mexico toward landing between Louisiana and Florida and possibly become a Category 4 hurricane on Thursday with catastrophic damage to properties in its path.
Delta was 1
It was the 25th named storm in the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
There have been so many Atlantic storms this year that forecasters have run by default names, turning to the Greek alphabet recently. If Delta hits the coast, it would be the 10th named storm to hit the United States
"This will be an impact hurricane," said Dan Kottlowski, leading hurricane forecaster at AccuWeather. Hot water and a lack of wind shear mean that the storm can be strengthened quickly, he said.
Delta winds could also bring 30 feet of ocean to areas off the Louisiana coast, Kottlowski said, affecting shipping and oil and gas production.
Oil and gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico Chevron Corp., BP PLC, BHP Group and Occidental Petroleum have begun removing personnel and safe offshore facilities.
Cuba's western province of Pinar del Rio and the Island of Youth also hunkered down in anticipation of tropical storm conditions. Cuba's civil defense ordered schools there to close, suspended local transport and announced the evacuation of coastal areas at risk of storm surge.