Zeta now a hurricane, heads for northern Gulf Coast


The storm is already disrupting US oil installations, and is expected to become a hurricane again on Tuesday as it barrels toward the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The US National Hurricane Centre said Zeta came ashore just north of Tulum with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

Tropical Storm Zeta has now strengthened into a hurricane as it moves towards Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and is projected to hit the storm-battered US Gulf Coast later this week. Hurricane warnings are in effect for Punta Allen to Progreso, Mexico, and Cozumel.

Zeta is the most recent storm to affect the Columbia area after roaring north through the Gulf Coast.

Marco, Sally and Delta all made landfall along the Louisiana coast, while Sally struck just east along the Alabama coast.

The hurricane warning area extends from Tulum to Dzilam, including Cozumel. Zeta was expected to move over the Yucatan Peninsula late Monday before heading into the Gulf of Mexico, where it would approach the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday, forecasters said, though it could weaken by then.

The heaviest rainfall is expected to stay northwest in the Upstate region, but localized flooding is possible, according to the National Weather Service.

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Zeta was moving northwest at around 13 miles per hour (20 km/h) after being almost stationary over the weekend.

The storm should lose a lot of intensity passing over the U.S. It's expected to be a tropical depression by Thursday but it will likely gain some strength over the Atlantic.

The National Hurricane Center is predicting water levels will rise by as much as two to four feet above normal tide levels along the immediate coast in the tropical storm warning area.

Zeta is strengthening as it gets ready to move over the Yucatan Peninsula. But the proclamation does not modify or alter provisions related to Covid-19 orders, and urges people responding to the storm to "remain vigilant against the spread of" the novel coronavirus.

Rainfall amounts of an inch or less were forecast for the Macon area, while Atlanta and points north into the mountains could see 2 to 4 inches.

Tropical Storm Zeta became the 27th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season Sunday.

2020's Zeta not only ties the current season with 2005 for the most number of named storms, it may also be a stepping stone into uncharted territory.