Delta Hits Mexico With Dangerous Storm Surge: Hurricane Update
Hurricane Delta barreled ashore in Mexico, slamming the resort areas of Cancun and Cozumel with strong winds and dangerous storm surge and threatening to inflict as much as $7 billion in damage and losses.
Delta threatens to become the latest in a string of deadly natural disasters in 2020, a year that has been marked by a hyperactive hurricane season, devastating wildfires and a derecho that wreaked havoc across the U.S. Midwest. They’re further evidence that the Earth’s climate is changing, bringing hotter temperatures, stronger storms and more widespread destruction.
Lucknow, IndiaMost polluted air today, in sensor range
$69.9B Renewable power investment worldwide in Q2 2020 39% Carbon-free net power in the U.S., most recent data 0 6 5 4 3 2 0 3 2 1 0 9 0 4 3 2 1 0 .0 9 8 7 6 5 0 2 1 0 9 8 0 3 2 1 0 9 0 3 2 1 0 9 0 5 4 3 2 1 0 9 8 7 6 5 Parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere
50,820 Million metric tons of greenhouse emissions, most recent annual data -38.88% Today’s arctic ice area vs. historic average +0.94° C Aug. 2020 increase in global temperature vs. 1900s average
Though Delta has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane, its winds can still uproot trees, wreck well-built homes and trigger blackouts lasting weeks. After hitting Mexico, the hurricane is forecast to churn through the energy-producing region of the Gulf before likely pummeling Louisiana, which has been struck twice already this year, on Friday.
It will be the record 10th tropical storm or hurricane to hit the U.S. in a year. The Atlantic has spawned 25 storms this year, the second most on record after 2005, when deadly Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans. So many have formed that the hurricane center has used up all the names on its official list and has resorted to the Greek alphabet to designate systems.
Delta’s loss in power has cut damage estimates for the resort areas of Cancun and Cozumel, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research. The storm will likely cause about $7 billion in losses and destruction to the region, much less than earlier estimates but “still a huge mess and a lot of damage.”
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Delta Weakens Over Yucatan Peninsula (8 a.m. NY)
Hurricane Delta’s winds weakened to 105 miles (169 kilometers) per hour as it crossed the Yucatan Peninsula just west of Cancun, according to the National Hurricane Center. It’s still a Category 2 hurricane, expected to bring up to 9 feet of storm surge.
The storm is forecast to re-strengthen when it moves over the southern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday night into Thursday, and could become a Category 4 hurricane again by late Thursday.
Delta Seen Nearing U.S. Gulf Coast as Category 3 (7:56 a.m. NY)
Delta will make its way across the Yucatan Peninsula before entering the Gulf of Mexico later Wednesday, said Paul Walker, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. Once the storm gets over the warm water, it will start to re-strengthen and expand.
It will likely be a Category 3 hurricane as it approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast, probably in southwest Louisiana, late Friday, Walker said. Delta’s growth will probably boost the threat of storm surge along the coast, and as much as 12 inches of rain could fall as it moves ashore.
“Surge is going to be my biggest concern,” Walker said. “It looks like a major storm as it comes in.”
Delta Makes Landfall (6:49 a.m. NY)
Delta came ashore near Puerto Morelos, along the northeastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, as a Category 2 hurricane. Its winds were 110 miles (177 kilometers) per hour as of 6:30 a.m. New York time, the National Hurricane Center said.
The center said earlier that the hurricane could bring 8 to 12 feet of storm surge, and 4 to 6 inches of rain, with isolated areas getting 10 inches.
Hurricane May Threaten U.S. LNG Plant (11:54 p.m. NY)
Just barely within Delta’s projected track is Sempra Energy’s Cameron liquefied natural gas terminal, which was shut by Hurricane Laura in late August and just resumed exports on Monday.
A flurry of hurricanes this year have forced multiple LNG plants on the Gulf Coast to temporarily close, adding to a glut in the U.S. while tightening global supplies and pushing spot rates in Europe and Asia higher. Even if Delta doesn’t deal a direct blow to the plants, the storm could temporarily disrupt tankers trying to ferry LNG from them.
Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass, the largest American LNG export terminal, is also barely within range of the hurricane’s path.
Delta Shuts 29% of U.S. Gulf Oil Output (2:09 p.m. NY)
Gulf of Mexico operators shut 540,495 barrels a day of oil production ahead of Hurricane Delta, or 29% of the region’s output, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a notice.
About 233 million cubic feet a day, or 8.6%, of natural gas production was also shut in, and 56 platforms were evacuated.
Enbridge Evacuates Gulf Platforms (1:08 p.m. NY)
Enbridge will evacuate all personnel from its Venice, Louisiana, natural gas processing plant on Wednesday ahead of Hurricane Delta, the company said in a website notice. It also evacuated all workers from its South Marsh Island 76 and Ship Shoal 207 platforms in the Gulf on Tuesday.
BHP Shuts 2 U.S. Oil Production Platforms (12:50 p.m. NY)
BHP Group was in the process of fully evacuating and shutting its Shenzi oil and natural gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday in advance of Hurricane Delta, company spokeswoman Judy Dane said by email.
The company removed staff and shut operations at its Neptune platform Monday.
Shell Preparing to Shut Several Production Assets (12:34 p.m. NY)
Shell was preparing to shut production at several assets and had begun evacuating non-essential staff from all nine of its facilities in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Delta, the company said on its website. All drilling rigs were securing operations.
— With assistance by Brian K Sullivan, Christine Buurma, Sheela Tobben, William Wade, Mark Chediak, and Stephen Stapczynski
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