Tropical storm warnings for Florida panhandle in effect

HOLT, Fla., Oct. 27, 2020—Tropical storm warnings for northwest Florida have been issued.

The warning extends from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to the Alabama/Mississippi state line.

A warning means conditions are expected within 36 hours.

According to the National Weather Service in Mobile, Zeta will most likely move into the forecast area as a strong tropical storm late Wednesday night.

Impacts

Impacts will likely occur well to the east and northeast of landfall, according to the NWC.

Between tonight and Thursday, heavy rainfall is expected in portions of the central Gulf coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A few tornadoes are also possible, according to the NWC, with most impacts occurring mid-day Wednesday into Thursday morning.

Zeta’s fast forward motion means the wind threat will extend well inland, according to the NWS. Tropical-storm-force winds bring the potential for downed trees and powerlines and scattered to numerous power outages.

Track

Hurricane models are fairly consistent and in agreement of the storm’s direction, with small adjustments on intensity and timing, according to the NHC.

Tropical Storm Zeta is moving northwest at 14 mph and is expected to turn north tonight and north-northeast tomorrow as it makes its way toward Louisiana.

Zeta is expected to be near the coast Wednesday night.

Although the storm’s track over the Yucatan Peninsula weakened it back into a tropical storm, Zeta is forecast to re-strengthen when it moves over the southern Gulf of Mexico later this morning and become a hurricane again later today.

Maximum sustained winds are forecast to reach 85 mph as it approaches the coast.

By the time the system moves over the northern Gulf, cooler waters and increasing shear are likely to cause the hurricane’s intensity to level off or perhaps weaken slightly before landfall, according to the NHC.

Regardless, Zeta is expected to be at or near hurricane intensity at landfall. 

Given Zeta’s acceleration before landfall, strong winds are likely to spread well inland along the northern Gulf coast Wednesday night, according to the NHC. 

National Hurricane Center and National Weather Center forecasts

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