MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Strong winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Zeta are lashing the Yucatan Peninsula.

At 11 p.m. Monday, the center of the storm was 25 miles east of Tulum, Mexico.

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Zeta is moving toward the northwest near 13 mph, and this general motion is forecast during the next day or so. Zeta should turn toward the north Tuesday night, and a faster northward to north-northeastward motion is anticipated on Wednesday.

On the forecast track, the center of Zeta will move over the northern Yucatan Peninsula during the next couple of hours, move over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, and approach the northern Gulf Coast in the watch area on Wednesday.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 80 mph with higher gusts.  Some slight strengthening is possible before Zeta makes landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula.  Weakening is forecast while Zeta moves over the Yucatan Peninsula late tonight and early Tuesday.

Zeta is forecast to re-strengthen when it moves over the southern Gulf of Mexico later on Tuesday and be at or near hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.

A Weatherflow station just south of Playa del Carmen reported sustained winds of 67 mph with a gust to 87 mph. Another Weatherflow station in Cancun recently reported sustained winds of 60 mph with a gust to 72 mph.

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A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Tulum to Dzilam, Mexico
  • Cozumel

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Pinar del Rio, Cuba
  • South of Tulum to Punta Allen, Mexico
  • Wet of Dzilam to Progreso

Four to 8 inches of rain, with local amounts of 12 inches, are possible through Tuesday along and east-northeast of Zeta’s track across the Yucatan Peninsula, the Cayman Islands, and central to western Cuba.

Heavy rains will begin to impact the central Gulf Coast Tuesday night, spreading inland across eastern Mississippi, Alabama, northern Georgia during Wednesday, through the southern Appalachians Wednesday night and into the Mid-Atlantic on Thursday.

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Zeta was the earliest named 27th Atlantic storm recorded in an already historic hurricane season.

The National Hurricane Center had to turn to the Greek alphabet because there have been so many storms this 2020 season, it ran out of official names.

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The last time the Greek alphabet had to be used in an Atlantic hurricane season was in 2005, the most active season on record, which had 28 named storms, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.