Tracking the tropics: Tropical Storm Zeta may become a hurricane Monday

Weather Headlines

Update 11 AM, Monday
Tropical Storm Zeta has a maximum sustained wind of 70 mph as of 11 AM, Monday. It is close to becoming a hurricane. Hurricane status is reached when the maximum sustained wind reaches 74 mph. It will make landfall Monday evening on the northern Yucatan Peninsula Monday evening as a Category 1 hurricane. The Yucatan may weaken it, but it will not be on land long. It will emerge into the Gulf of Mexico by sunrise Tuesday. The southern gulf waters are warm, so it should restrengthen to a hurricane if it weakens while over land.

Landfall is expected Wednesday evening as a weak category 1 hurricane or a strong tropical storm Wednesday evening somewhere along the SE Louisiana coast. The path will be away from Arkansas, but tropical moisture will likely be shoved in and over the cool air at the surface in Arkansas and widespread heavy rain of 1-2″ is likely Wednesday night – Thursday morning in Arkansas.

Rainfall totals from Zeta will range 1-2″ in Arkansas. NWA totals are higher due to additional precipitation from an upper-level low over the Desert SW and Texas.

See more interesting notes on Zeta in the original post below

Original Post, Sunday 10/25
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- For those who may not know, the Atlantic tropical season begins on June 1 and lasts through November 31st every year. While much of the activity is winding down at this point we can still have systems form like the one over the Caribbean Sea.

On Sunday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) found tropical storm evidence with the organizing activity. Because of this it was upgraded to tropical storm status and was given the name Zeta.

This is 27th named storm for this season. That is significant because the 2020 Atlantic tropical season ties with the 2005 season for going this far down the list of names available in one season since the modern naming system began back in the early 1950s. The modern naming system entails having a list of 21 names available each year for use. If you use up all of the names, the greek alphabet list becomes active. We have only had to use the Greek alphabet two times, once in 2005 and again this year.

However, the 2005 Atlantic Tropical season still holds the title for most named storms with the count at 28 while this year stands at 27. How is that possible you may ask? A post-season analysis of 2005 by the NHC showed that a storm did reach naming criteria. Since this discovery was after the fact, that system was given “unnamed” status but still included in the named total for 2005. That is how the count stands at 28 for that year.

While this year may still stand in 2nd place for total named storms, it holds the record for most U.S. landfalling tropical systems.

Looking at the image above, you can see this system is forecast to move towards the U.S. making landfall by the middle of the week. While most of the impacts are forecast to stay east of Arkansas it could help enhance our rain potential some for mid-week.

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