Tropical Storm Zeta forecast to intensify in Gulf of Mexico

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Tropical Storm Zeta is tracking through the northwest Caribbean Sea, likely to strengthen into a hurricane. The U.S. Gulf Coast could suffer another direct hit later this week with heavy rain, damaging wind, and storm surge.

Zeta was just under 300 miles south of the western tip of Cuba Sunday morning producing sustained winds of 40 mph. Part of the Yucatan Peninsula (including Cozumel and Cancun) is under a Tropical Storm Watch, while western Cuba is under a Tropical Storm Warning.

Parts of Cuba and Mexico could see tropical storm conditions Monday.

“By Tuesday, Zeta will track into the Gulf of Mexico where warm surface water and favorable upper-level winds will support strengthening,” said Storm Team 3 Meteorologist Kyle Dennis. “It could become the 11th hurricane of the season before striking the already hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast on Wednesday, somewhere between south-central Louisiana and the western Florida Panhandle.”

Storm Team 3 says there is no direct threat to the Coastal Empire or Lowcountry at this time. A few showers are possible by Thursday and Friday as Zeta’s remnants pass well to our north.

Hurricane season officially ends November 30th, but tropical cyclones can and have formed in December and even January. There is only one other Zeta on record. That storm formed in December of 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina. 2020 now ties that season with the most number of named storms at 27.

Should just one more tropical storm develop this year, we will have seen an unprecedented number of names used in a single season.

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