Zeta on track to become record-setting 5th named storm landfall for Louisiana

Zeta on track to become record-setting 5th named storm landfall for Louisiana
10 a.m. Monday advisory and forecast track for Tropical Storm Zeta. Zeta is expected to approach the SE Louisiana coastline by late Wednesday near hurricane intensity. (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Zeta has continued to gradually organize since Sunday and was upgraded to a hurricane Monday afternoon. The official forecast calls for Zeta to make landfall over the northern Yucatan Peninsula early Tuesday.

On Monday, Oct. 26 Governor John Bel Edwards issued a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Zeta, which could impact Louisiana later in the week, although the final track is still uncertain.

“While there is some uncertainty in Zeta’s track, it is likely that Louisiana will see some impacts from this storm, and the people of our state need to take it seriously. It’s easy to let your guard down late in the hurricane season, but that would be a huge mistake,” Gov. Edwards said.

IR satellite loop as of Monday morning showing Tropical Storm Zeta in the western Caribbean moving to the northwest toward the Yucatan Peninsula.
IR satellite loop as of Monday morning showing Tropical Storm Zeta in the western Caribbean moving to the northwest toward the Yucatan Peninsula. (Source: WAFB)

While land interaction with the northern Yucatan may result in a slight disruption to Zeta’s intensity, that impact is expected to be limited and conditions appear favorable for the system to either maintain its intensity or see a slight increase in winds as it moves across the southern Gulf of Mexico.

WAFB Storm Team 10-day forecast as of Monday morning, Oct. 26.
WAFB Storm Team 10-day forecast as of Monday morning, Oct. 26. (Source: WAFB)

By Wednesday as it moves farther north in the Gulf, increasing wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures may be enough to impart at least some slight weakening. However, the 10 a.m. forecast indicates Zeta will likely reach the coast of southeast Louisiana by late Wednesday near or just below hurricane intensity.

Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches will likely be issued for the northern Gulf Coast, including parts of Louisiana, with the afternoon advisory. If anything close to the current forecast track verifies, the greatest impacts would extend from coastal southeast Louisiana through metro New Orleans and eastward to coastal Mississippi and Alabama.

Potential impacts around metro Baton Rouge from Zeta based off of the 10 a.m. Monday advisory and forecast track.
Potential impacts around metro Baton Rouge from Zeta based off of the 10 a.m. Monday advisory and forecast track. (Source: WAFB)

On the current forecast path, metro Baton Rouge might see a few wind gusts to tropical storm force and rains ranging from 1″ to 3″, but would likely avoid any widespread significant impacts. But with landfall still nearly 60 hours away, we need to remain vigilant for any potential shifts back to the west.

While some rain will begin to impact our area as soon as Tuesday afternoon and evening, the primary impact window currently appears slated for late Wednesday into early Thursday. Weather should rapidly improve during the day on Thursday as Zeta moves inland and merges with a cold front.

Named storm landfalls in Louisiana during the 2020 hurricane season. Zeta would be a record-setting 5th landfall for the state in a single season.
Named storm landfalls in Louisiana during the 2020 hurricane season. Zeta would be a record-setting 5th landfall for the state in a single season. (Source: WAFB)

It’s worth noting that should Zeta make landfall in Louisiana, it would be the fifth named storm to do so during the 2020 hurricane season. That would be a new record surpassing the 2002 season when Louisiana saw landfalls from Bertha, Hanna, Isidore, and Lili.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.