CURRENT TROPICAL CYCLONES:
Tropical Cyclone 28L (Zeta)…is located 25 miles south-southeast of Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Here’s a satellite image of the Atlantic Ocean
A broad area of low pressure is expected to form over the southwestern Caribbean Sea during the next few days. Some slow development of this system is possible over the weekend or early next week while it is nearly stationary over the southwestern Caribbean Sea.
* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…near 0 percent
* Formation chance through 5 days…low…20 percent
Gulf of Mexico:
ZETA WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL STORM OVER CENTRAL ALABAMA…STRONG WINDS CONTINUE ACROSS PORTIONS OF ALABAMA AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
Looping radar from New Orleans
According the NHC Advisory 18A…Zeta is moving quickly toward the northeast near 31 mph (50 km/h). An even faster northeastward motion is expected later today, followed by a rapid east-northeastward motion tonight and Friday. On the forecast track, the center of Zeta will move across portions of the southeastern U.S. this morning, across the Mid-Atlantic states this afternoon, and emerge over the western Atlantic by tonight. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional weakening is expected, and Zeta should decay into a non-tropical gale-force low later today. The low should become absorbed by a frontal system over the western Atlantic on Friday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km). An observation in Wetumpka, Alabama, recently reported sustained winds of 44 mph (71 km/h).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
STORM SURGE: Along the northern Gulf Coast, the combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…
Mouth of the Pearl River to Dauphin Island AL…6-9 ft
Port Fourchon LA to the Mouth of the Mississippi River…5-8 ft
Mouth of the Mississippi River to the Mouth of the Pearl River including Lake Borgne…5-7 ft Mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Port Fourchon LA…4-6 ft
Mobile Bay…4-6 ft
Dauphin Island AL to AL/FL border…3-5 ft
Lake Pontchartrain…3-5 ft
AL/FL border to Navarre FL including Pensacola Bay…2-4 ft
Intracoastal City LA to the Mouth of the Atchafalaya River including Vermilion Bay…1-3 ft Navarre FL to Yankeetown FL including Choctawhatchee Bay and Saint Andrew Bay…1-3 ft
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the right of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.
WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected within the Hurricane Warning area on the northern Gulf Coast this afternoon, with tropical storm conditions beginning later this morning. Tropical storm conditions are expected within the Tropical Storm Warning area on the northern Gulf Coast by late today.
Damaging winds, especially in gusts, will spread well inland across portions of southeastern Mississippi, Alabama, and northern Georgia this evening through early Thursday morning, and into the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia on Thursday. Wind gusts could be especially severe across the southern Appalachian Mountains on Thursday.
RAINFALL: Areas of heavy rainfall, both in advance of and along the track of Zeta, will impact areas from the central Gulf Coast to the Mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, and eastward into the southern to central Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic today through Thursday. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with isolated amounts of 6 inches are expected across these areas, resulting in flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding.
TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are expected this afternoon through tonight over southeastern parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, southern Alabama, and the western Panhandle of Florida.
WSI satellite image of the Caribbean Sea
Latest satellite image of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico