First Alert: Zeta strengthens to hurricane, eyes northern Gulf Coast

First Alert: Tropical Storm Zeta eyes northern Gulf Coast

MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - Hurricane Zeta continues to organize and move toward the Yucatan Peninsula. The storm reached hurricane strength Monday afternoon.

The storm will move into the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, move north toward South Mississippi on Wednesday and should move through the area by Thursday. It will bring with it heavy rain, gusty wind and the potential for a few tornadoes, depending on the final track of the system.

This is another tricky tropical system to track as the setup will mean a rather one-sided storm. That means areas on the west side will see little to no impacts, and on the east side, will see all of the impacts including the possibility for heavy rain, flooding, wind and tornadoes.

What to expect:

As the storm gets closer to the coast, we will know more about specifics. For now, plan and prepare for heavy rain, localized flash flooding, wind gusts up to 70 mph and the potential for some tropical tornadoes.

This should move through the area reasonably quickly, too. So the tropical storm-force conditions may only last for a few hours.

Timing:

This is still a bit up in the air as forecast guidance continues to slow the onset of tropical storm-force conditions down.

Wednesday evening we should start to see increasing clouds and wind. Overnight Wednesday, rain could be heavy at times with wind gusts up to 70 mph. By Thursday morning, conditions should start to clear.

Threats:

The main concern is going to be heavy rain, gusty wind and the potential for brief tropical tornadoes. These threats will be dependent on where the center of the storm goes. These estimates may change, perhaps drastically, in the coming days.

Rain total estimates 3 inches to 6 inches for most places and up to 8 inches possible for a few spots.

Sustained winds are estimate to be 25 mph to 50 mph and could affect the area for up to 18 hours. Wind gusts could reach 40 mph to 70 mph.

The estimates are based on the currently forecast track and intensity. It may change if the track shifts.

More Info

For more scientific information on this - and other - forecasts, you can get extra details and a complete scientific breakdown over on Nick’s Blog.

Preparations:

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