Oct. 26 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Zeta is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane on Monday as it gains steam in the western Caribbean and threatens the U.S. Gulf Coast with yet another serious storm.
The National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. EDT advisory that Zeta was located 210 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. It was moving northwest at 9 mph.
Zeta will become a hurricane once it reaches maximum sustained winds of 74 mph.
The NHC said the storm is “rapidly strengthening” and will bring hurricane conditions across parts of the Yucatan Peninsula on Monday.
“On the forecast track, the center of Zeta will move near or over the northern Yucatan Peninsula later today or tonight, move over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, and approach the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday,” the NHC said.
Zeta is heading for a portion of the Gulf Coast that has already had to deal with four named tropical systems this year — Laura, Marco, Sally and Delta.
Marco, Sally and Delta all made landfall along the Louisiana coast, while Sally struck just east along the Alabama coast. Marco was the only storm that did not make landfall as a hurricane.
“Between Tuesday night and Thursday, storm total rainfall of 2 to 4 inches with isolated amounts of 6 inches is expected across portions of the central U.S. Gulf Coast, Tennessee Valley, southern Appalachians, and Mid-Atlantic States near and in advance of Zeta,” the NHC said.
“The expected rainfall could lead to flash, urban, and small stream flooding, along with minor river flooding.”
Accuweather contributed to this report