Tropical cyclone formation is imminent in the Atlantic Hurricane Basin, with the National Hurricane Center declaring a nearly 100% chance of tropical cyclone formation in the next 48 hours. Residents in Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast are urged to monitor this developing system closely in the coming days.
Satellite, radar and surface data indicate that an area of low pressure located about 125 miles west-southwest of Grand Cayman Island continues to become better organized. According to the Miami, Florida-based National Hurricane Center, if current trends continue, advisories will be initiated on a tropical depression this afternoon or evening. Environmental conditions are conducive for further development while the low drifts toward the north and northwest this weekend. The system could move near western Cuba on Monday and move across the southern Gulf of Mexico or the northeastern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday.
A NOAA Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft is en route to investigate the disturbance this afternoon.
Regardless of development, locally heavy rainfall will be possible over portions of the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Cuba, and northeastern Yucatan through early next week.
Most computer forecast model guidance suggests this storm will intensify into a tropical storm in the next 48 hours, with some guidance suggesting the system could even reach hurricane strength in 72 hours. Should the system grow into a named tropical storm, it would be called Zeta. Zeta, the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, was only used once before to label a tropical storm that formed in December of 2005. The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season has been extremely busy, running out of names to use weeks ago. Now, letters of the Greek alphabet are being used to label tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic hurricane basin.
There has never been a season where a name beyond Zeta in the Greek alphabet was used; that could change this year. The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season doesn’t end until the end of November, although storms have been known to form in the off-season in December before.