We haven’t see much change in Zeta over the last several hours. As of the 10 AM advisory, Zeta has maintained tropical-storm strength and still looks like a semi-organized storm on the satellite imagery. Top sustained winds are still pegged at 70 mph and its movement is a little faster at 10 mph to the NW.
Zeta is expected to strengthen into hurricane by later today, impacting the Yucatan Peninsula later tonight and emerge into the Gulf of Mexico by early Tuesday morning. On this forecast track, Zeta will impact almost the same exact areas that Hurricane Delta did just a few weeks ago.
Not much change to the overall track has been observed either, so we maintain the direct threats to the Louisiana Gulf coast by Wednesday afternoon, with a landfall expected Wednesday night. On this path, the Alabama and Florida Gulf coasts could see heavy rain, some wind, a severe weather threat and strong rip currents, but the main brunt of the storm will be farther west. It appears Zeta will maintain category-one-hurricane strength as it moves inland.
There is still some uncertainty in the track due to the main steering feature. An upper-level trough will pick the storm up and sling it to the northeast Wednesday, when that happens and how strong that steering force is will determine where the storm goes, and ultimately, what our impacts will be.
Right now, we want everyone to be ready for heavy rain, some wind, and the chance for a severe storm with damaging wind and an isolated tornado possible. We’ll continue to watch the forecast and keep you updated.