The city of New Orleans is under a state of emergency aswith Louisiana in its sights. The storm has battered Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula overnight as a Category 2 — blasting down trees and knocking power out across the resort area, and trapping American tourists.
In nearby Cancun, daylight revealed downed power lines, massive debris fields and trees toppled onto cars. Tourists had jammed into the airport Tuesday night, trying to get out ahead of the storm.
Those who couldn't escape, like Russel Ditalo and his family, rode out the storm, crowded in a shelter with hundreds of others.
"We're in a pandemic right now and knowing that we're going to have close quarters this whole entire time, (we're) trying to figure out exactly how we were going to do what we could for our family," Ditalo said.
Delta could make landfall again Friday night as a Category 2 or potentially devastating Category 3 hurricane, which would have winds measuring at least 111 mph. Nearly 60,000 people along the coast in Vermillion Parish are under mandatory evacuation orders.
Officials are warning residents to prepare.
"It's for your safety, these storms can be unpredictable and dangerous, and we just want to make sure everyone is safe," the U.S. Coast Guard said.
"Hurricane Delta will be a very serious storm, and everyone needs to be ready for whatever it may bring," Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Tuesday. "Now is the time to do what you need to do to prepare for yourself, your family and pets."
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell also warned of the "life-threatening" storm.
"Make sure you have a plan to be prepared," she said. "Look out for yourselves and your neighbors. We're facing a life-threatening storm surge outside the levee protection system."