Tropical Storm Zeta to bring more rain, rough seas

A NOAA satellite image shows Tropical Storm Zeta in the western Caribbean on 25 Oct. at 12:00pm local time.

Tropical Storm Zeta is drifting away from the Cayman Islands, but flood risk and rough seas will persist.

As of 10am Sunday, the system was located about 188 miles southwest of Grand Cayman and was slowly moving north-northwest towards the Yucatan Peninsula at about 1 mph, the Cayman Islands National Weather Service wrote.

Rain showers will be locally heavy at times, and both a flood warning and a small craft warning remain in effect.

The Cayman Islands National Weather Service update on 25 Oct. Click to enlarge.

Wave heights may reach up to 7 feet and maximum sustained winds are forecast at 40mph.

Zeta is currently forecast to reach the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula as a tropical storm on Monday and the US Gulf Coast as a hurricane by Wednesday, according to forecasting by the US National Hurricane Center.

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Portions of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba are under tropical storm warnings.

“Through Wednesday, heavy rainfall is expected across portions of central and western Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the northwest Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, southern Florida and the Keys. This rainfall may lead to flash flooding in urban areas,” the US National Hurricane Center wrote late Sunday morning.

“Zeta could be just at or below hurricane strength when it approaches the northern [US] Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and could bring storm surge, rainfall and wind impacts to areas from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. Residents of these areas should monitor the progress of Zeta and updates to the forecast.”

If Zeta does form into a hurricane, it would be the 11th hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season, ending 30 Nov.

Zeta is the 27th named storm of the season. The next named storm will be Eta.

An average season, based on data from 1981-2010, produces 6.4 hurricanes and 12.1 named storms.

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