Hurricane Watches issued for eastern and northern coasts of the Yucatan peninsula.
(Sunday 8am, October 25, 2020) The tropical depression over the northwestern Caribbean Sea has continued to slowly become better organized. Satellite and hurricane hunter aircraft have determined that winds increased to near 40kts. Overall Zeta has not moved much in the last 12 hours. However, Zeta should approach the Gulf Coast Tuesday night or Wednesday. It will bring storm surge, rainfall and wind impacts from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle. The storm poses no immediate threat to the Houston Area.
Zeta will have little forward motion for the next 12 hours; steering flow is weak. However, on Monday mid-level high pressure will begin to build westward letting Zeta turn NW and WNW, and to increase forward motion. Global model guidance is in good agreement on this track. Zeta will then enter the southern Gulf of Mexico. A strong cold front will push south and east across the Great Plains by mid-week. and turn Zeta north and likely northeast toward the central or eastern US Gulf coast. However, much uncertainty exists on how sharply Zeta will turn. The storm could make landfall anywhere from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.
Overall Zeta is in a favorable environment for development. Zeta could approach hurricane intensity as it nears the Yucatan. Once in the Gulf of Mexico conditions continue to look favorable for intensification. Zeta will likely regain or maintain hurricane intensity.
However, as Zeta begins to turn northward toward the central Gulf, cooler sea surface temperatures and increasing vertical wind shear should weaken the system. No one knows at present how quickly weakening may occur.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/25/2020 based on information from Jeff Lindner, HCFCD, and the National Hurricane Center
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