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Hurricane Zeta Forecast Discussion


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WTNT43 KNHC 270247
TCDAT3

Hurricane Zeta Discussion Number  10
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL282020
1000 PM CDT Mon Oct 26 2020

Satellite images are showing that convection has been increasing 
near Zeta tonight, with cold cold tops to at least -93C, and 
occasional hints of a warm spot related to the early-stages of an 
eye beneath the clouds.  Yet, the NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft 
mission found that Zeta has basically been steady state in terms of 
maximum winds and pressures, with peak SFMR values hovering between 
65-70 kt and dropsonde data showing central pressures of about 982 
mb.  The data did show that the area of hurricane-force winds has 
grown, about 40 n mi in the eastern semicircle, and it is possible 
that the worst of this hurricane will be after the center makes 
landfall.  The initial wind speed is kept at 70 kt on this advisory.

The hurricane is running out of time to get much stronger before 
landfall during the next couple of hours, but some increase in 
intensity is possible.  Zeta should spend less than 12 hours over 
land as it crosses Yucatan, but that's enough time to probably drop 
it below hurricane strength early tomorrow.  However, environmental 
conditions are unseasonably conducive for intensification so late in 
the year in the southern and central Gulf of Mexico, with fairly 
light shear and warm waters during the next 24 to 36 hours.  The 
peak intensity forecast is raised slightly after considering those 
factors, and some models like the HWRF or ECMWF even suggest it 
could get a little stronger. As the hurricane nears the northern 
Gulf Coast, it is likely to encounter stronger shear and cooler 
waters, so some weakening is anticipated, but Zeta is still expected 
to be at or near hurricane intensity at landfall. The NHC intensity 
forecast is generally similar to the previous one, lying above the 
model consensus.  

Zeta continues to move on a generally northwestward track, or about 
305/11 kt.  The hurricane should move around the southwestern and 
western periphery of a mid-level subtropical high centered just east 
of Florida.  Thereafter, a potent shortwave trough approaching from 
the Desert Southwest and Texas is likely to cause the cyclone to 
accelerate north-northeastward to northeastward on Wednesday and 
move over the southeastern and eastern United States.  Model 
guidance is in very good agreement, with only some minor 
differences, and the new forecast is close to the previous one and 
the models consensus.  The system should move off the Mid-Atlantic 
U.S. coast and become an extratropical cyclone within 3 days, and 
dissipate soon thereafter.

KEY MESSAGES:

1. Hurricane conditions and dangerous storm surge are expected to 
continue in portions of the northern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico  
through early Tuesday.  Heavy rainfall is expected across the 
Yucatan Peninsula, the Cayman Islands, and western Cuba through 
Tuesday, which could lead to flash flooding in urban areas.

2. Hurricane conditions and life-threatening storm surge are
possible along portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and
Storm Surge and Hurricane Watches are in effect. Residents in the
watch areas should follow any advice given by local officials.

3. Between Tuesday night and Thursday, heavy rainfall is expected
from portions of the central Gulf Coast into the southern
Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic States near and in advance of Zeta.
This rainfall will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and minor
river flooding.


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  27/0300Z 20.2N  87.1W   70 KT  80 MPH
 12H  27/1200Z 21.3N  88.8W   60 KT  70 MPH...INLAND
 24H  28/0000Z 23.1N  90.7W   65 KT  75 MPH...OVER WATER
 36H  28/1200Z 25.6N  91.6W   75 KT  85 MPH
 48H  29/0000Z 29.1N  90.1W   65 KT  75 MPH
 60H  29/1200Z 33.8N  85.7W   35 KT  40 MPH...INLAND
 72H  30/0000Z 38.5N  76.5W   45 KT  50 MPH...POST-TROP/EXTRATROP
 96H  31/0000Z...DISSIPATED

$$
Forecaster Blake