Tropical Storm Zeta forms in the Northern Caribbean early Sunday
After drifting for 24 hours, Zeta is expected to become a hurricane headed for the Gulf of Mexico
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Early Sunday morning, Tropical Depression Twenty-Eight was officially upgraded to Tropical Storm Zeta in the Northern Caribbean Sea.
As of the 10am update, here are the details from the National Hurricane Center and Hurricane Hunters:
|Location||Maximum Wind Speed||Movement||Minimum Central Pressure|
|290 miles south-southeast of Western tip of Cuba||40 mph||Stationary||1005 mb|
The National Hurricane Center notes that the center of Zeta remains hard to find due to a lack of movement and multiple clusters of thunderstorms happening over the warm waters of the Caribbean. This adds to some uncertainty the forecast, using an estimated location for the center. This may also be a sign of the center reorganizing closer to deeper burst of convection.
As of the latest forecast out of Miami, the forecast cone has moved slightly east and continues to shift further away from Texas. While most tropical forecast models favor landfall somewhere between Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle, the official forecast continues to fall west of most solutions, closer to New Orleans, Louisiana. The biggest factor of what eventually slingshots Zeta to land is a large area of low-pressure forecast to sweep across Texas by mid-week. A slower solution could force tropical models closer to the Hurricane Center’s forecast -- hence the slight caution.
Current forecast calls for Zeta to strengthen into a hurricane as it reaches the Southern Gulf of Mexico early Tuesday morning. The latest forecast has Zeta approaching the Gulf Coast as a Category 1 Hurricane Wednesday. Increasing upper-level winds and cooler waters in the Northern Gulf of Mexico could weaken the storm back to tropical storm strength before crawling inland mid-week.
A cold front pushing colder, Canadian air into Texas Monday will keep any tropical concerns away from the state and Brazos Valley. One forecast consideration to monitor: if Zeta manages to move further west before being swept toward land, that could increase the rain chance across parts of Central and Southeast Texas.
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