Zeta now a Category 1 hurricane

For the latest information on storm activity in the Cayman Islands, as well as information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit Storm Centre

Tropical Storm Zeta has been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center has said.

The storm, which is headed to the Yucatan Peninsula, is the 11th hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season.

It is forecast to make landfall in Mexican state of Quintana Roo later Monday. It will be the third named storm to make landfall there this month. Gamma and Delta were other two storms to lash the state.

Cloudy, rainy conditions and rough seas from the storm, are expected to continue in Cayman for the next 18 hours, the Cayman Islands National Weather stated in its 4pm bulletin. At that time, Zeta was located about 300 miles west of Grand Cayman.

A flood warning and a small craft warning remains in effect in Cayman.

The NHC, in its afternoon forecast, said Zeta is about 90 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and has maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

The storm’s present movement is northwest at 10 miles per hour. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles.

“A northwestward motion with some increase in forward speed is expected over the next day or so, followed by a turn toward the north Tuesday night. A faster northward to north-northeastward motion is forecast on Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Zeta will move over the northern Yucatan Peninsula later today or tonight, move over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, and approach the northern Gulf Coast in
the watch area on Wednesday,” the NHC advisory stated.

Original story: Sea surges generated by the passage of Tropical Storm Zeta are expected to continue around Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands over the next couple of days, National Weather Service meteorologist Avalon Porter said.

Zeta, which was located 256 miles west of Grand Cayman on Monday morning, was moving on a northwest track at 10 miles per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

Porter said that while the storm is drifting away from Cayman, its effects will continue to be felt locally.

Sea surge batters Seven Mile Beach on Monday. – Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

“The wind speeds will continue to be southeast to south,” he said, adding that wave heights of 5 to 7 feet are likely.

“Along the west coast, we expect some swells, maybe 4 to 6 feet for today [Monday] and tonight. Tomorrow, we’ll still see some swells, but in the region of say 2 to 3 feet,” he told the Cayman Compass in an interview Monday.

Zeta, he said, should be over the Yucatan Peninsula sometime on Tuesday and weather associated with it is expected to start to move out of the Cayman area by late Monday.

“The rain and surf should start to decrease after that,” he added.

National Weather Service meteorologist Avalon Porter. – Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

Porter said there were reports of zero visibility on Cayman Brac Monday due to heavy thunder showers. Some localised flooding has also been reported.

A flood warning and a small craft advisory issued by the National Weather Service are currently in effect in Cayman. Those are expected to remain in place until Tuesday, Porter said.

“We expect to drop them tomorrow, although we expect the wind speeds to still be a little risky, so we will have a small craft advisory in effect for tomorrow [Tuesday] with wave heights in the region of 4 to 6 feet,” he said.

Rough waves continued to batter the coastline Monday. One surfer was spotted in the water off Governors Beach.

However, Porter advised against getting into the water when the seas are rough.

“The rough seas will endanger anyone’s life when they go into the water. My advice is to stay on land and admire the sea from a distance,” he said.

Tropical Storm Zeta’s projected track as of Monday. – Image: National Hurricane Center

Meanwhile, the US-based National Hurricane Center, in its advisory Monday, said hurricane conditions and a dangerous storm surge from Zeta were likely over portions of the Yucatan Peninsula by late Monday.

Maximum sustained winds are at near 70 mph, with higher gusts, and the storm is forecast to strengthen and become a hurricane later Monday.

“Some weakening is likely while Zeta moves over the Yucatan Peninsula tonight and early Tuesday. Zeta is forecast to strengthen again while it moves over the southern
Gulf of Mexico later on Tuesday,” the NHC said.

The storm was 140 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, as of late Monday morning. Hurricane warnings are in effect from Tulum to Dzilam de Bravo, and Cozumel.

“A northwestward motion with some increase in forward speed is expected over the
next day or so, followed by a turn toward the north Tuesday night. A faster northward to north-northeastward motion is forecast on Wednesday.

“On the forecast track, the center of Zeta will move near or over the northern Yucatan Peninsula later today or tonight, move over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, and approach the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday,” the NHC said on Monday.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the centre.

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