Zeta brought hurricane force winds to part of the Yucatan Peninsula early on Tuesday and warnings were issued for the Gulf Coast. At 5:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Zeta was located at latitude 21.0°N and longitude 88.4°W which put it about 85 miles (135 km) east-southeast of Progreso, Mexico. Zeta was moving toward the northwest at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 984 mb.
A Hurricane Warning was issued for the portion of the coast from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border. THe Hurricane Warning includes New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas. A Tropical Storm Warning was issued for the portion of the coast from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line, Florida. The Hurricane Warning for the coast of Mexico from Punta Allen to Progreso was changed to a Tropical Storm Warning. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana.
Hurricane Zeta made landfall on the northeastern part of the Yucatan Penisula just north of Tulum, Mexico on Monday night. Weather stations in Playa del Carmen and on Cozumel reported sustained wind speeds of hurricane force. Zeta dropped heavy rain over parts of the northern Yucatan Peninsula. The heavy rain could cause flash floods in some locations.
Zeta weakened to a tropical storm when it moved across the northern Yucatan. The center of Tropical Storm Zeta was just about to emerge over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday morning. The circulation around Zeta remained intact. Thunderstorms were occurring around the center of circulation. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Storm Zeta. Storms near the core generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical storm. Wins to tropical storm force extended out 140 miles (220 km) from the center of Zeta.
Tropical Storm Zeta will move over the southern Gulf of Mexico during the next few hours. Zeta will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C when it reaches the Gulf. It will be under the western part of an upper level ridge where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Tropical Storm Zeta is likely to intensify back into a hurricane on Tuesday. An upper level trough over the southwestern U.S. will produce southwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of Hurricane Zeta on Wednesday. Those winds will cause more vertical wind shear and Zeta could weaken when it moves over the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Storm Zeta will move around the western end of a ridge of high pressure. The ridge will steer Zeta toward the northwest on Tuesday. Zeta will move more toward the north on Wednesday when it moves around the western end of the ridge. The upper level trough is likely to steer Zeta toward the northeast as it approaches the Gulf Coast. Zeta could approach the coast of southeast Louisiana on Wednesday afternoon. Zeta is likely to still be a hurricane when it approaches the Gulf Coast