Delta now a major Category 3 hurricane, bringing 140 mph wind gusts as it nears Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula and western Cuba

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Hurricane Delta has weakened a bit to a Category 3 storm overnight but remains a major hurricane with serious impacts likely.

As of the 5 a.m. update, Delta has slightly weakened but still stays extremely powerful as it takes aim at Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, which will take a direct hit.

Hurricane Delta is moving northwest at 17 mph with winds up to 115 mph and gusts reaching as high at 140 mph. The storm is currently 35 miles east-northeast of Cozumel.

Forecasters expect Delta to slam into beach resorts from Tulum to Cozumel with an extremely dangerous storm surge of up to 13 feet and even higher waves. Storm surge and hurricane watches will likely be issued for the U.S. gulf coast on Wednesday. Western Cuba will also see heavy rain through Thursday.

Once it leaves Mexico, it’s expected to regain Category 4 status over the Gulf of Mexico as it approaches the U.S. coast, where landfall around Friday would be followed by heavy rainfall across the southeastern United States.

If that happens, Delta would be the first-ever hurricane named after a Greek letter to strike the U.S. mainland. The cone of uncertainty puts Delta making landfall somewhere in Louisiana.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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