RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Tropical storm Zeta formed early Sunday morning and exploded in growth throughout the day in the western Caribbean south of Cuba.
As of 11 p.m. Sunday, the storm’s winds were up to 60 mph — 50 percent higher than just 12 hours earlier.
Zeta was moving north-northwest at just 2 mph as of late Sunday night.
The National Hurricane Center said the storm was 260 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico as of 11 p.m. Sunday.
Tropical storm Zeta could gain hurricane strength by Tuesday and make landfall somewhere from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle midweek to late week.
The center of the storm is expected to pass south of western Cuba Monday and move near or over the northern Yucatan peninsula or Yucatan channel late Monday, move into the southern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, and reach the central Gulf of Mexico by late Tuesday.
Zeta is the 27th named storm of the year and comes within one storm of the record 2005 season that had 28 storms. Zeta is the farthest into the Greek alphabet a hurricane season has ever reached.
One storm in 2005 was found in post-season analysis so it was not named that year.
No direct impacts are likely for Central North Carolina, although moisture from this system will likely combine with a cold front to bring additional rain here to close the month of October.