Tropical Storm Zeta strengthening in the Caribbean; targeting the Gulf Coast
Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the Caribbean early Sunday. As of 11 p.m., Zeta packs maximum sustained wind of 60 mph. The storm is slowly moving to the NNW at 2 MPH.
Zeta ties 2020 with 2005 for the most named storms in a season, but there needs to be one more storm to tie 2005 for the most storms in a season, since an unnamed storm was added post-season.
Zeta is expected to meander in the Caribbean, before approaching the Yucatan late Monday. By that time, Zeta is forecast to become a hurricane, thanks to a combo of moist air & low shear environment, along with the very warm water of the NW Caribbean Sea.
By Wednesday, a cold front pushing across the Mississippi River Valley will cause Zeta to accelerate to the north, then northeast towards the north-central Gulf Coast. By that time, increasing wind shear, dry air, and cooler water temperatures should cause weakening back to a tropical storm by landfall.
There is still some uncertainty in the eventual landfall spot, but everyone from western Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle needs to be on alert, as damaging winds, flooding rain, storm surge, and tornadoes will be a threat along & east of the path of Zeta.
Zeta is unlikely to bring any significant impacts to SW Florida.
Elsewhere, Post-Tropical Storm Epsilon is moving away from the eastern seaboard. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.
Epsilon will continue to generate large swells impacting Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, the Leeward Islands, the United States east coast, and Atlantic Canada through the weekend. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Locally for your Sunday, an increase in tropical moisture from Tropical Storm Zeta will bring higher rain chances across Southwest Florida. The Weather Authority is monitoring scattered showers for your Sunday. Otherwise, expect highs in the 80s & lows in the 70s, with an southeasterly breeze.