BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The latest National Hurricane Center forecast has been nudged to the east away from the local area. Zeta is expected to be a lop-sided tropical cyclone at landfall due to persistent southwesterly wind shear.
That means a majority of the significant impacts will be displaced east of the center. The NHC stresses though this remains a low confidence forecast due to the poor organization and erratic current movement, and also because long range models are not in very good agreement on the overall intensity and projected path prior to and during landfall.
Forecast models continue to project potential landfall falls from southwest Louisiana all the way east to the Florida Panhandle. For now, it seems the NHC is favoring the GFS model and its ensembles over the European Model.
The past few runs of the European brings landfall along southwest and south central Louisiana keeping the local area on the wet/stronger side of Zeta’s projected circulation. Bottom line expect further shifts to the forecast track in the coming days possibly in either direction (east or west).
Landfall is currently projected to occur sometime Wednesday, Oct. 28, this does not give the Gulf Coast much time to wait out model agreement.
Unfortunately, forecast weather models also are not in great agreement on the timing of landfall. Earliest landfalls occur Wednesday morning with some models holding off landfall until late Wednesday night. Regardless of exact timing, the Gulf Coast Region is likely to see the most significant impacts Wednesday.
Forward speed will be a critical point for the forecast. Zeta is forecast to be picked up by an approaching trough which will accelerate the storm quickly inland. As mentioned earlier this quicker speed will limit preparation time for those in the path.
The fast forward speed will likely limit rainfall totals keeping the flash flood threat low. Surge along the coast and within the tidal lakes (Maurepas & Pontchartrain) remain a concern due to persistent easterly and southeasterly wind flow over the next several days.
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