“Zeta” is now a Hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph. Zeta will move across the Yucatan Peninsula tonight and over the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday before making landfall across Southeastern Louisiana late Thursday.
A strong Upper-Level-Low diving across the Southwest and moving into Texas will help steer Zeta rapidly to the northeast. As it interacts with the Upper-Level-Low and a cold front, shear will weaken the system, but a broad area of strong gusty winds is likely as Zeta transitions from a tropical system to a strong low pressure system. Heavy rain, flooding, and storm surge is likely on Wednesday for the Central and Eastern Gulf Coast.
The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center takes Zeta across the Mid-Atlantic late Thursday and Thursday night. Most of the rain will be over for our region as early as sunrise Friday morning. Depending on the exact track of Zeta will determine which areas will see the highest impacts from this system. Severe weather is POSSIBLE on the EAST side of the system. However, models are split on where Zeta will track across the Mid-Atlantic.
GFS (American) model keeps the strongest winds to the south and southeast, but the heaviest rain across Central and Southern portions of the state. That’s because the track of Zeta passes to the south and east.
European model tracks Zeta further north and west, with a large swath of strong winds across much of the Mid-Atlantic. The heaviest rain falls across the northern and western parts of the region. Severe weather would be possible on this track.
Canadian model is pretty similar to the European model, except the wind is not as high, but 35 to 50 mph wind gusts is still predicted on this model run across a large area. The heaviest rain falls across the northern and western parts of the region. Severe weather would be possible on this track.
Bottom Line: Expect impacts from Zeta across much of the Mid-Atlantic from late Thursday through early Friday. As we get closer, we will create local maps with our new forecast zone graphics to pinpoint who will see the strongest winds, severe weather, and heaviest rainfall.