Hurricane Delta, now a major Category 4 storm, has strengthened at an incredible rate: more than 85 mph over 24 hours. It’s the fastest rate of intensification in the Caribbean since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, when that storm went from 75 mph to 185 mph in just 24 hours time.
Delta’s rapid intensification is no coincidence. Memorable storms like this season’s Hurricane Laura, and past season storms like Michael and Harvey, have done the same. Over the past few decades, rapid intensification has been increasing by about 3 to 4 mph per decade due to hotter waters from human-caused climate change. That means a system in 1980 that may have intensified by 40 mph in 24 hours might now intensify at 55 mph in 24 hours.
But Delta is looking especially similar to Wilma, the most intense storm on record in the Atlantic. And it could similarly have a