Tropical Storm Delta joins Gamma in busy hurricane season

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tropical Storm Gamma stalled just north of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Monday after lashing the resort-studded coast with near-hurricane force winds and drenching the states of Tabasco and Chiapas with a deluge that killed at least 6 people and forced thousands from their homes.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Delta formed on Monday and expected to become a hurricane endangering the Cayman Islands and Cuba on a path into the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Mexico's civil defense agency said in a statement that four of the deaths blamed on Gamma, including two children, were in Chiapas, where a landslide on a mountainous slope buried their home. The other two deaths were in Tabasco state, where one person was dragged away by the water and another drowned..

Gamma, along with cold fronts, combined over the weekend to cause extreme rains in parts of the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas, affecting more than half a million people. The hardest-hit state was Tabasco, where more than 3,400 were evacuated to shelters.

The storm came ashore Saturday near Tulum with maximum sustained winds of nearly 70 mph (110 kph) — 4 mph (9 kph short of hurricane force), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Thousands of tourists were affected in a resort area that only recently reopened after a pandemic shutdown: The state’s tourism department reported Friday on Twitter that more than 41,000 tourists were present in Quintana Roo, with hotels in Cancun and Cozumel already at more than 30% occupancy.

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Mexican authorities continued to warn people in the Yucatan on Monday as Gamma stalled offshore. The hurricane center said early Monday that Gamma was about 170 miles (275 kms) northeast of Progreso, Mexico, and had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (95 kph). Forecasters preedicted up to 8 more inches of rain in the states of Yucatan, Campeche and Tabasco, producing significant flash flooding.

Delta, meanwhile, was intensifying on a northward path, with top winds of 40 mph (65 kmh) about 270 miles (440 km) southeast of Grand Cayman. It was moving near 9 mph (15 kmh), on track to hit the Cayman Islands Monday night and approach western Cuba Tuesday afternoon or evening before moving into the Gulf on Wednesday.

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