ZETA LIKELY TO MOVE NEAR OR OVER LOCAL AREA ON WEDNESDAY… Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to approach south Alabama and northwest Florida on Wednesday, probably as a strong tropical storm or a category 1 hurricane. Heavy rain, gusty winds (especially near the coast), tornadoes, and storm surge will become possible Wednesday into Thursday. Join me in this LIVE video update for the very latest on Zeta.
The following information remains completely on target from my previous post. My next long form text discussion will accompany the Monday morning video at 7:15AM.
POTENTIAL LOCAL IMPACTS – ZETA… Heavy rain and flash flooding will likely be the main concerns across south Alabama and northwest Florida due to the passage of Tropical Storm Zeta near or over our local area. In addition, there likely will be a threat of a few tornadoes, gusty winds near the Alabama and northwest Florida beaches, and potentially storm surge issues. Coastal flooding and rip currents will also be concerns at the local beaches. Fortunately, there is high confidence Zeta will be accelerating northeast by the middle of the week, meaning widespread extreme river and creek flooding (like what we saw with Hurricane Sally several weeks ago) is currently NOT expected.
UPDATED TIMING – LOCAL ZETA IMPACTS… 4AM Wednesday to 4AM Thursday will be the 24 hour window when potential local impacts from Tropical Storm Zeta will be MOST likely to happen across south Alabama and northwest Florida. The latest guidance suggests Noon to 10PM on Wednesday will be the 10 hour window when impacts will be most likely to happen locally across south Alabama and northwest Florida. This is highly subject to change based on the latest forecast in the days ahead. Please check back for updates as the forecast becomes more precise.
TORNADO RISK ON WEDNESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT… Considering our local area will likely be on the eastern flank of Zeta (or perhaps very near the center), tornadoes will be a concern across the entire local area on Wednesday into Wednesday night. It appears the tornado risk will be maximized from Noon to 10PM on Wednesday. This timeframe is subject to change, thus please check back for updates in the days ahead.
HEAVY RAIN & FLASH FLOODING POSSIBLE WEDNESDAY INTO THURSDAY… Zeta is set to be a rainmaker across the local area, even if the center of circulation moves inland to our west. The latest rainfall total projections suggest much of our area will have 2 to 4 inches of rainfall with isolated higher amounts (5-6″). While this certainly will be a good soaking, it seems like widespread river and creek flooding is not likely to happen at this point. After the passage of Zeta, we will have dry days in store for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
STORM SURGE POSSIBLE… Storm surge may become a concern at the immediate beaches with a 2 to 4 foot storm surge being possible along the Alabama and northwest Florida coastline. We will begin to get a much better assessment of the storm surge potential tomorrow into Tuesday.
WIND IMPACTS POSSIBLE NEAR OUR LOCAL COASTLINE… The overall risk for high winds will be greatest near the Alabama and northwest Florida beaches and near where the center of Zeta ultimately moves onshore. Wind impacts farther inland (north of I-10) seem unlikely, for now.
HURRICANE WARNING FOR YUCATAN PENINSULA… The Yucatan Peninsula really cannot catch a break as this is the third hurricane warning for this area in the last month or so. A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for the Yucatan Peninsula from Tulum to Rio Lagartos, including Cozumel.
HURRICANE WATCH FOR NORTHERN GULF COAST LIKELY MONDAY… A Hurricane Watch or a Tropical Storm Watch will be needed for parts of the northern Gulf Coast on Monday. I would not be surprised to see a Hurricane Watch issued for part of our local area, based on the current projected path for Zeta.
WHAT IS DRIVING ZETA… Tropical Storm Zeta is not moving very much at all so far on Sunday. That was and is expected as Zeta is currently in an environment with very little upper-level atmospheric steering. Zeta will be drawn to the north on the western side of a developing ridge of high pressure over the Florida Peninsula and the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. This area of high pressure causes air/wind to move in a clockwise fashion, meaning Zeta will be moving north or northwest over the next 2 days. You will see forward speed of Zeta increase over the next few days. Once we get to Wednesday and Thursday, Zeta will increasingly “feel” the effects of an upper-level trough of low pressure over the southwestern U.S. That, in combination with a cold front, will begin to steer Zeta northeast later in the week. The large scale pattern is set and there is high confidence in this overall setup. Despite this, it is hard to pinpoint a landfall location just yet considering how weak the storm is. Once the storm develops more and moves northwest, we will begin to see the cone of uncertainty along the northern Gulf Coast start to shrink in size.
SET UP APP ALERTS… Many updates will be posted throughout the day in the RedZone Weather app. redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download. Be sure to visit the Alerts tab (bottom right corner) and tap the large, yellow “Alert Settings” button to customize the alerts you’d like to receive from me. If you like a lot of info, be sure to toggle ON Low-Level Alerts.
NEXT UPDATE… My next video update concerning Tropical Storm Zeta will be posted by 7:15AM on Monday. Until then, more updates will be posted in the RedZone Weather app. Have a great Sunday evening!
Tap below to support this RZW sponsor!