Miami, Fl.(Florida News Network)- At 500 PM EDT the center of Hurricane Delta was located near latitude 24.8 North, longitude 93.4 West. Delta is about 345 miles south of Cameron, Louisana. Delta is moving toward the northwest near 12 mph, and this motion with a reduction in forward speed is expected this evening. A turn toward the north is forecast to occur late tonight, followed by a north-northeastward motion Friday and Friday night. On the forecast track, the center of Delta will move over the western Gulf of Mexico this evening, over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico on Friday, and then move inland within the hurricane warning area Friday afternoon or Friday night.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 115 mph with higher gusts. Delta is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional strengthening is possible tonight. Some weakening is possible as Delta approaches the northern Gulf coast on Friday, with rapid weakening expected after the center moves inland.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles.
The minimum central pressure just reported by the Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 959 mb (28.32 inches).
Data and graphic credit: National Hurricane Center