Travel Alert October 2020: Hurricane Zeta to Impact the Gulf Coast of the United States

If the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama are in your travel plans over the next few days, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather — due to Hurricane Zeta, whose second landfall is expected to occur somewhere on the Gulf Coast of the United States as soon as prior to midnight late on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.

Travel Alert October 2020: Hurricane Zeta to Impact the Gulf Coast of the United States

Hurricane Zeta

Source: National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

Maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Zeta — which is currently centered approximately 25 miles east of Tulum in Mexico and is moving northwest at 13 miles per hour — are 80 miles per hour, which means that this storm is classified as a Category 1 hurricane and is expected to further strengthen as it emerges over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico prior to landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States, which is forecast to occur as soon as late Wednesday evening.

A hurricane warning is currently in effect in Mexico from Punta Allen to Progreso — as well as Cozumel.

A hurricane watch is currently in effect from Morgan City in Louisiana to the border which Mississippi shares with Alabama — which includes the city of New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas.

A tropical storm watch is currently in effect from the border which Mississippi shares with Alabama to the border which Okaloosa County shares with Walton County in Florida; and from west of Morgan City to Intracoastal City in Louisiana.

The first landfall of Hurricane Zeta is expected to occur within the next couple of hours on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane.

Hurricane Zeta is expected to be the fifth named system in 2020 to significantly impact Louisiana with a landfall, along with Hurricanes Laura and Delta — as well as Tropical Storms Marco and Cristobal:

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to or from the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama over the next few days, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this tropical weather system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary.

Here are two airlines which have issued travel alerts — or are at least monitoring the storm — as a result of this tropical weather system:

  • American Airlines has issued travel alerts for eight cities in four states for Wednesday, October 28, 2020 through Thursday, October 29, 2020; and Sunday, November 1, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued travel alerts for eight cities in four states for Wednesday, October 28, 2020 through Thursday, October 29, 2020; and Sunday, November 1, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

For travel advisories pertaining to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, please refer to this article.

The year 2005 was the most active year in recorded history in terms of 27 total named tropical systems, with Tropical Storm Zeta — no, not the current Hurricane Zeta — as the last storm of that season. Only one more named storm is needed for the year 2020 to break that record.

I personally believe that the National Weather Service of the United States and other official weather authorities should consider using the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z to name tropical systems — especially with the inclusion of names which are not common in the United States. Quincy, Ursula, Xavier, Yvonne, and Zachary all come immediately to my mind to name storms which usually do not require those letters during a typical season. Only once the entire alphabet has been exhausted should the characters of the Greek alphabet be used…

…and ironically, the Greek alphabet uses a name which begins with the letter Z. Why not use one of the aforementioned names which begin with the letter Z?

As far as I know, the name of a tropical system after a character of the Greek alphabet has never been retired. What happens if a storm is strong enough to warrant the name being retired and it is named after a character of the Greek alphabet?

Anyway, expect more travel alerts to be issued by more airlines as Hurricane Zeta progresses over the next couple of days for the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

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