HOLT, Fla., Oct. 26, 2020—Tropical Storm Zeta has strengthened to a category 1 hurricane this afternoon with wind speeds near 80 mph.
Zeta is expected to be at or near hurricane intensity at landfall Wednesday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Watches and warnings went up along the northern Gulf coast, including a tropical storm warning from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to the Alabama/Mississippi state line.
Impacts from Zeta will occur well east of the center of the storm, according to the National Weather Service in Mobile.
Impacts in this area include strong winds, heavy rains and a few isolated tornadoes Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday night.
The center of Zeta will move over the northern Yucatan Peninsula later today or tonight, move over the southern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday and approach the northern Gulf coast in the watch area Wednesday, according to the NHC.
Additional strengthening is possible before Zeta makes landfall in the Yucatan; some weakening is expected as it moves across land.
However, Zeta will likely re-strengthen when the center moves over the southern Gulf of Mexico later Tuesday, according to the NHC.
Zeta is moving toward the northwest near 10 mph, but is expected to speed up as it curves north and northeast over the Gulf of Mexico.