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Raleigh, N.C. — While the Gulf Coast braces for another potentially damaging hurricane, North Carolina will see mainly rain from the storm.
On Thursday, Hurricane Delta strengthened into a major Category 3 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm was expected to make landfall in Louisiana by Friday night as a Category 3 hurricane before weakening and bringing rain to North Carolina this weekend.
The storm first made landfall around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday south of Cancun, Mexico, with top winds of 110 mph. Mexico evacuated thousands of tourists and residents from coastal areas along its Riviera Maya. Some 160 shelters were opened in Cancun alone.
Delta could make landfall along the Gulf Coast Friday very close to where Laura made landfall just weeks earlier. It will be the sixth time a storm has left the state scrambling during the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season.
“This season has been relentless,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said, dusting off his now common refrain of 2020 – “Prepare for the worst. Pray for the best.”
According to the National Hurricane Center, while it’s too early to know Delta’s exact impacts, there is a risk of dangerous storm surge, wind, and rainfall hazards along the coast from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle.
Up to 12 inches of rain are possible, and some Gulf states have declared a state of emergency.
After Delta hits the Gulf Coast, the storm will weaken and move northeast toward North Carolina. Remnants from the storm are expected to bring some rain to North Carolina on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Currently, it looks like the more rain will fall in the western portion of the state. Forecasts have improved since earlier in the week, indicating the Triangle will get less than 0.5 inches of rain.
WRAL meteorologist Zach Maloch said the weekend won’t be completely dry, but it won’t be a washout either.
For now, the only local impact expected from Delta is rain.
Delta will be the record 10th storm to make landfall in the U.S. this season. It is the ninth hurricane and the 25th named storm of the season.