The hurricane season in 2020 continues to exceed as tropical storm Zeta gets stronger over the Western Caribbean. The storm is expected to turn into a hurricane on Monday, hitting a hurricane-like Delta, hitting near Cancun and then heading to the northern coast of the Persian Gulf.
Zeta is the 27th system from, which is moving more than a month before the record pace set in 2005. This year included 28 tropical storms, the last of which formed only at the end of December. This puts 2020 on track to tie or break the all-time record for the number of such storms in the Atlantic for one season.
On Sunday night, Zeta was slowly organizing north of the coast of Honduras, south of Cuba. The maximum winds were close to 50 mph and the pressure was constantly decreasing, which shows a gradual strengthening. Computer models call for continued intensification as the system is located above the warmest pool in the hemisphere and upper-level winds become increasingly conducive to development.
Until Monday, the official forecast of the National Hurricane Center predicts that Zeta will be a low-end hurricane, but is not expected to be nearly as strong as Hurricane Delta just weeks ago. The system will land on the Yucatan Peninsula near Cancun and Cozumel on Monday night and Tuesday morning. Like Delta, it will lose weight briefly over land.
On Tuesday, when the system reappears over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it will regain some of its strength, likely to regain the intensity of the hurricanes, and will remain so until Wednesday morning as it moves north. But on Wednesday, it must face strong upper-level winds as it approaches the Persian Gulf coast, where the official forecast calls for a slight weakening in the drought on Wednesday afternoon.
The National Hurricane Center forecast cone shows the land somewhere between southeastern Louisiana and western Florida Panhandle. This would be the 8th storm to hit the Gulf coast this season, with the highest concentration in Louisiana.
As of Sunday night, it looks like Zeta will be a strong tropical storm or possibly a very low-class hurricane on land. The basic rule is that residents near the strike area should always prepare for a category above the forecast.
Season 2020 is the fifth consecutive season with far above normal stormy activity – the normal is 12 storms. While science is not sure that the number of storms will increase due to man-made climate change, the signs do point in that direction. It is more certain that the number of intense storms will continue to increase as ocean temperatures continue to warm.
In the Atlantic Ocean, the chance of a storm(Category 3, 4 or 5) is now twice as likely as in the 1980s, showing how influential warmer ocean waters can be.