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Hurricane Delta approaches Gulf Coast landfall in year of major storms

Satellites are monitoring Hurricane Delta, now a Category 3 storm targeting the already-battered Gulf Coast after making a first landfall on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.

Hurricane Delta is expected to make landfall along the coast of Louisiana tonight (Oct. 9) and spend the weekend traveling northeast across the inland U.S. The storm's landfall will likely batter the same area of the coast slammed by Hurricane Laura in late August, according to The Washington Post; the ongoing coronavirus pandemic also complicates evacuation and recovery procedures.

Related: Astronaut and satellites see tropical storms Laura and Marco from space

According to the current forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Hurricane Center, the key threats posed by Hurricane Delta at landfall are storm surge and rainfall.

"The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline," NHC officials wrote in an morning update. The storm surge areas for Hurricane Delta includes the region from High Island, Texas to the mouth of the Pearl River in Louisiana, according to the NHC. It also includes Calcasieu Lake, Vermilion Bay, and Lake Borgne in Louisiana. 

NOAA's primary satellite for monitoring Atlantic hurricanes is the GOES-East satellite, which keeps a steady eye on the eastern U.S. Satellites provide key insights in hurricane-tracking for weather officials on Earth. The impact of satellites on humanity is the focus of World Space Week 2020, which runs this week.

The storm's name is itself a sign of how severe this year's hurricane season has been: The National Hurricane Center ran through its traditional list of 21 alphabetical storm names in mid-September and is left using Greek letters for the remainder of the season, which ends on Nov. 30.

Climate change increases the frequency and severity of tropical storms, in particular by warming up the ocean water that powers these storms and by increasing sea levels, making places more vulnerable to storm surge.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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