Tracking the Tropics: Zeta making its first landfall tonight in Mexico.

Tracking the Tropics

As of 10 PM CDT Monday, what was Tropical Storm Zeta is now category 1 Hurricane Zeta, tracking over the Yucatan tonight. Zeta is starting to pick up speed as well–moving NW at 10 mph. By tomorrow, Zeta will enter the Gulf of Mexico & become yet another storm to impact the US Gulf coast this year.

Zeta is now the 27th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season–just one storm shy of the previous annual record of 28 named storms, last set back in 2005. It’s also the 11th hurricane of the year–the most hurricanes in one season since 2010, which had 12 hurricanes in total.

Here is the latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center. Landfall is expected early Wednesday night as a category 1 hurricane in Southeast Louisiana, near the mouth of the MS River. As we’ve learned this year, the forecast track is always subject to change in the days leading up to landfall, so expect to see some minor shifts in the track within the cone of uncertainty shown above

As Zeta continues its track NE after landfall, we are expecting the worst of our weather from the storm across Central Alabama late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. Leading up to then, we’ll see waves of tropical showers traverse through the region…starting late Tuesday afternoon as spotty light rain, gradually increasing frequency & intensity heading into Wednesday & eventually Thursday. Wind speeds will become noticeably brisk Wednesday night/Thursday morning. At its strongest, we can expect possibly 30 to 40 mph gusts at that time.

Here are the latest forecast rainfall totals from Zeta as it passes through the region. This is subject to change, but for the most part, we’re looking at potentially 2 to 4″ of rain across Central Alabama through Thursday afternoon. Some spots locally may see up to 5″ through Thursday.

By roughly 3 PM Thursday, Zeta will have exited the region to our Northeast, and cooler, drier air will almost immediately rush in from the West. Expect to see a clearing sky by Thursday night, followed by sunshine & cooler than average temperatures Friday & into the weekend.

That’s all for now!  Be sure to download the free CBS 42 Storm Team Weather App for up-to-the-minute weather alerts in YOUR area.  Also, give me a follow on Twitter @GriffinHardyWX for more weather updates from across Alabama & the Southeast.  Have a good night!

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