Tropical Storm Delta was the twenty-sixth named storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, forming from a previously non-tropical low-pressure area in the central Atlantic Ocean in late November. Delta moved erratically across the central Atlantic after forming, but eventually headed northeast, striking the Canary Islands as an extratropical cyclone with 70 mph winds, just under hurricane-force. Delta was the first extratropical cyclone that had transitioned from a tropical cyclone to hit the Canary Islands in recorded history, one of the many records set by the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. After passing the Canary Islands, it moved over Morroco, with little impact there.

Delta 7-19 direct deaths, and $364,000,000 in damage (2005 USD).

Delta near peak intensity
Formation November 22, 2005
Dissipation November 29, 2005
Highest winds 70 mph
Lowest pressure 980 mbar
Deaths 7-19 direct
Damages $18,000,000 (2005 USD)
Areas affected Canary Islands, Morroco, Algeria

Meteorological History

On November 22, a non-tropical area of low-pressure in the central Atlantic Ocean began to gain tropical characteristics, and, late that afternoon, the low became Subtropical Storm Delta while located over 800 miles west-southwest of the Azores. Operationally, it was thought that Delta had enough tropical characteristics to be considered a tropical storm from the time of its naming, although post-season analysis revealed that it did not. On November 24, Delta became a fully-tropical storm, with its convection becoming more organized near the center. Later that day, Delta reached its peak intensity of 70 mph winds, just under hurricane strength. At this point, the official forecast predicted Delta would become a minimal hurricane, but this did not happen depsite the prediction. Delta maintained this strength for a few days, moving erratically in the central Atlantic Ocean as it did so.

As wind shear increased over Delta, a weakening trend began on November 25, and by the end of the day, Delta had weakened to a minimal tropical storm. Some models predicted at this point that Delta could be absorbed by another extratropical low to its west, which would later become Hurricane Epsilon. This did not happen, and Delta began to move to the northeast. As Delta accelerated towards the Canary Islands, it reintensified, reaching a secondary peak of 70 mph winds on November 27. In post-season analysis, the NHC concluded that Delta may have briefly reached hurricane strength that day, but there was not enough conclusive evidence to justify upgrading Delta to a hurricane. As Delta neared the Canary Islands on November 28, it lost all its tropical characteristics, becoming an extratropical cyclone before passing 105 miles to the north of the islands, as a 70 mph extratropical cyclone.

Early on November 29, Delta moved over Morroco, rapidly weakened overland, and dissipated late that day over northwestern Algeria.


Canary Islands

Damage in Tenerife from Delta.

Delta caused considerable damage in the Canary Islands, being described as an "historic event", as tropical cyclones are extremely rare on the islands. The islands of La Palma and Tenerife were hardest hit by Delta, with many uprooted trees, as well as landslides being reported on those islands. At La Palma, the peak wind gust recorded from Delta was 95 mph, and the Tenerife peak wind gust was 90 mph. One hospital had to be evacuated, and several airports were closed across the islands. In all, over 225,000 customers lost power as a result of the storm, and many lost telephone service as a result of the storm. Also, a famous tourist attraction called El Dido de Dios (or God's finger), a geological feature which had been pointing towards the sky for over a millenium, as well as being an important landmark for the Canary Islands, was destroyed because of Delta's high winds and waves along the shore of Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria was the island that suffered more damage in its Patrimony, with Delta destroying cenetary windows and crosses, the cover of the Cueva Pintada in Galdar, and also stopped prisoners and without light several villages of the center of the island. Also, Delta killed 7 people, with six of them being immigrants that were on a boat that sank off the Canary Islands, and 12 people were also reported missing as a result of Delta. The 7th death was the result of a man being blown off his house by Delta's strong winds when he was repairing his house during the storm.

Total damage caused by Delta throughout the Canary Islands amounted to $364,000,000 (2005 USD). Delta was also blamed for a 10-15% reduction of the islands tuna catch, as it kept fisherman in port for several days after the storm passed.


In Morroco, Delta was described as a "normal atmospheric disturbance". The rain from Delta was actually welcomed, since the farmers needed the rain to complete the sowing of cereal crops. No damage was reported on Morroco as a result of Delta.

Naming and Records

When Subtropical Storm Delta formed on November 22, it was the earliest ever that the twenty-sixth named storm formed in an Atlantic hurricane season, and the first time ever.

See Also

2005 Atlantic hurricane season