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Zeta becomes a hurricane; hurricane watch issued for portions of Louisiana

Posted at 4:11 PM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 23:50:36-04

10pm Monday Update: No major changes to the forecast intensity and track but most of Acadiana is now out of the cone of uncertainty.

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Zeta was upgraded to a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) this afternoon with 80 mph winds while hurricane watches are now in effect from Morgan City eastward across the rest of Southeast Louisiana.

Zeta is expected to impact the Yucatan Peninsula overnight and emerge in the Southern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday.

A Hurricane Watch is in now in effect from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi/Alabama border, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and metropolitan New Orleans.

In addition, a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line, Florida, and from west of Morgan City to Intracoastal City.

Tropical Storm Watches were also in effect for Vermilion, Iberia, St Mary & Lower St Martin Parishes in Acadiana.

A Hurricane Watch means hurricane conditions can be expected within 36 to 48 hours.

A Storm Surge Watch is also in effect from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Navarre, Florida, including Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Vermilion Bay, Pensacola Bay, and Mobile Bay.

Water levels may rise up to 2-4 feet above normal from Intracoastal City to Morgan City.

All the watches will likely become warnings by late Tuesday.

Zeta remains on track to make landfall late Wednesday into early Thursday across Southeast Louisiana impacting areas such as Grand Isle and then on to New Orleans and Mississippi into Wednesday night.

If Zeta makes landfall as a hurricane, it will be the third hurricane in two months to strike the Louisiana Coast, not including the near miss with Sally in September.

And Zeta may very well impact the same areas into Mississippi, Alabama and the extreme Western Florida Panhandle that were heavily damaged by Hurricane Sally roughly 6 weeks ago.

At this time, the heaviest rains, highest winds and storm surge will be near and east of the center of this storm, with Acadiana only receiving a glancing blow.

Gusty winds in the 25-40 mph range will be possible for portions of Acadiana into Wednesday night with gusts to hurricane force expected for portions of Southeast Louisiana.

While the Euro model is stronger (and slower) than the NHC's forecast, it should be noted that often this year this model has overdone gusts in some of the previous hurricanes this year, but the model cannot be completely discounted.

Meanwhile the heaviest tropical rainfall will be found along and east of the center, well east of Acadiana, but an inch or two of rain will certainly be possible, mainly along and behind a cool front that arrives overnight Wednesday.

Tropical showers and storms will advance toward Acadiana as early as late Tuesday with rain chances and breezy winds expected into Wednesday and Wednesday night in tandem with an approaching front.

A strong cold front will push through the Acadiana area Wednesday night pushing Zeta off to the east an ushering in beautiful, cool fall weather to Acadiana later this week and lasting for the better part of the following week.

See the KATC 10 Day Forecast for the latest.

Stay with KATC for the latest on this storm.

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