Alert for Tropical Storm Zeta: It has changed course and is expected to make landfall in Quintana Roo

25/10/2020

Although the National Meteorological Service's (SMN) forecast indicated this Saturday that the system would advance through the waters of the Yucatan channel without making land in Mexico, now this forecast has changed, and everything points to the Zeta center impacting the southeast of the country on the afternoon of Monday, October 26.

Alert for Tropical Storm Zeta. Image: SMN/Conagua Clima
Alert for Tropical Storm Zeta. Image: SMN/Conagua Clima

This was warned by the climate agency of the National Water Commission (Conagua) in a statement, which said that the cyclone will continue to increase in strength and could hit Quintana Roo as a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

SMN reported that the vortex of tropical storm Zeta was located early Sunday morning 475 kilometers southeast of Cozumel, and 515 kilometers southeast of Cancun, in Quintana Roo. It moves very slowly in that direction, at only 2 km/hr.

It is expected that throughout the day, the system will generate heavy rainfall - from 25 to 50 liters per square meter - in the southeast of the country. In addition, on the coast of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, gusts of wind could beat at 60 kilometers per hour, while waves could reach three meters high.

For the expected effects on these entities and the dangerous threat of the cyclone, the agency issued the following warning:

Prevention zone for tropical storm winds from Tulum, Quintana Roo, to Río Lagartos, in Yucatán, -including the island of Cozumel, in Q. Roo-. This warning could be modified in the next few hours, as the phenomenon approaches the national territory.

In a short time, Zeta intensified in the waters of the Caribbean Sea, and already registers maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour, with stronger gusts of up to 85 kilometers per hour. According to the SMN, it will continue to gain strength and could make landfall in Quintana Roo as a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, that is, with winds ranging from 118 to 152 km/h.

If the forecast is true, the cyclone will enter Mexico on October 26th. After hitting Quintana Roo, it will cross into the state of Yucatan. On the morning of October 27th, it will leave the country and head for the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, without losing intensity. Around Thursday 29th, he will arrive at the coast of Louisiana, USA.

The Civil Protection agencies in Yucatan and Quintana Roo urged the population to keep abreast of the information issued through their official channels, and to take extreme precautions due to the adverse maritime conditions expected this Sunday. Due to the wide circulation of the system, it is expected that its effects will continue to hit the southeastern states until the 30th.

In the 2019 season, 33 such events were recorded, 19 on the Pacific and 14 on the Atlantic, according to data from the National Meteorological Service. This year, Mexico is expecting a more active than normal tropical cyclone season, with 30 to 37 events between the Atlantic and Pacific.

The tropical cyclone season begins each year on May 15 in the Pacific and on June 1 in the Atlantic, ending for both areas on November 30.