Zeta becomes a hurricane as it nears Yucatan, heading for US

Zeta strengthened to a hurricane as it heads toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula resorts and then likely move on for a landfall on the central U.S. Gulf Coast at midweek.

Zeta is the earliest ever 27th named storm of the Atlantic season. On Monday afternoon, it was centered about 105 miles southeast of Cozumel island. It had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

The storm is expected to move over the Yucatan Peninsula late Monday. It will then head into the Gulf of Mexico and approach the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday, though it could weaken by then.

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Zeta is reportedly expected to produce heavy rainfall and tropical-storm-force winds across the Yucatan Peninsula on Monday. The following watches and warnings are in effect:

Hurricane Warning

  • Tulum to Dzilam, Mexico
  • Cozumel

Tropical Storm Warning

  • Pinar del Rio Cuba
  • South of Tulum to Punta Allen
  • West of Dzilam to Progreso

Zeta is the 6th named storm of the Greek alphabet used in the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. With that, the season has now tied with the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season for the most named storms in one season. One more named storm and this year will become the new record holder.

Forecasters have predicted that this season will have more activity than normal. For example, NOAA predicted an above-average season, with 13 to 19 named storms. Six to 10 of those would become hurricanes and three to six of those are forecasted to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).  

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In comparison, the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane season had 18 named storms, matching 1969 for the fourth most-lively season in the past 150 years. 

Hurricane season runs through November 30th.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest tropical updates.