Tropical Storm Delta has continued to strengthen despite adverse conditions and is now approaching hurricane strength. The 4:00pm EST advisory from the National Hurricane Center has strengthened Delta to a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph and a central pressure of 982 mb. Delta has picked up speed and is now heading to the northeast at 26 mph. This track is expected to turn eastward and Delta could reach Africa late tomorrow.
Delta has developed a mid-level eye that is displaced slightly from the surface center of circulation. Surface observations confirm that Delta is near hurricane strength at this time. A buoy over 55 miles from the center of Delta reported winds of 70 mph and seas of 25 ft this afternoon. Delta is expected to travel to the east passing over the Canary Islands, and could reach Africa along the Moroccan coast late Monday. It is unlikely, but possible, that Delta will be a purely tropical system at that time.
However, increasing wind shear and cooler ocean temperatures are acting to counteract the strengthening. Delta is expected to interact with a frontal boundary on Monday and transition to an extratropical storm. This should happen as tropical storm force winds approach the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa. The computer models are in agreement on this track and extratropical transition. However, Delta was originally expected to transition already. The models remain in clear consensus calling for Delta to become a cold-core system.