Story at a glance
- Tropical Storm Zeta became the 27th named storm of the 2020 season.
- The last time 27 named storms occurred in a single season was in 2005.
- During that season, the 27th storm formed on Nov. 29 and later turned into Hurricane Epsilon.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is continuing to break records as Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the Caribbean over the weekend and could possibly make landfall in the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane later in the week.
On Sunday morning, the tropical depression strengthened to a tropical storm, earning the name Zeta in accordance with the Greek alphabet and becoming the earliest 27th named storm that any Atlantic season has produced.
The last time 27 named storms occurred in a single season was in 2005. During that season, the 27th storm formed on Nov. 29 and later turned into Hurricane Epsilon. The 2005 season also produced a Zeta storm in December, the 28th storm of the season.
That puts 2020 on track to either tie or break the all-time record for the number of named storms in the Atlantic over one season.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Zeta is expected to bring hurricane conditions and dangerous storm surge to parts of the northern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico Monday night and early Tuesday. The storm could bring 4 to 8 inches of rain to Mexico, the Cayman Islands and parts of Cuba before hitting the central U.S. Gulf Coast.
The storm could make landfall anywhere from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle by Wednesday.
“Zeta is forecast to be at or near hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and there is an increasing risk of dangerous storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle,” the National Weather Service said.
“Residents in these areas should monitor the progress of Zeta, as Hurricane and Storm Surge watches will likely be issued later today.”
The storm will be the 11th to make landfall in the U.S. this year. The largest number of tropical storms and hurricanes to make landfall in the continental U.S. prior to 2020 was nine in 1916.
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