Travel Alert October 2020: Tropical Storm Zeta to Impact Cancún and Cozumel; Gulf Coast of the United States Next

If Cancún, Cozumel, and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico are in your travel plans over the next couple of 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 Tropical Storm Zeta, whose first landfall is expected to occur somewhere on the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 hurricane as soon as later this afternoon today, Tuesday, October 27, 2020 before moving northward to the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Travel Alert October 2020: Tropical Storm Zeta to Impact Cancún and Cozumel; Gulf Coast of the United States Next

Hurricane Zeta

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

Maximum sustained winds of Tropical Storm Zeta — which is currently centered approximately 140 miles southeast of Cozumel in Mexico and is moving northwest at ten miles per hour — are 70 miles per hour, which means that this storm is classified as a very strong tropical storm; and it is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane prior to landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, which is expected to occur later this afternoon. The eye of this tropical storm can clearly be defined when viewing satellite images of it — but the tropical system itself is far from symmetrical; so although it is expected to strengthen, it is not forecast to become a major hurricane at this time due to the close proximity to land.

A hurricane warning is currently in effect in Mexico from Tulum to Dzilam — as well as Cozumel.

A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for the province of Pinar del Rio in Cuba; and from Tulum to Punta Allen and from west of Dzilam to Progresso in Mexico.

The Yucatan Peninsula will be inundated with winds of hurricane force, a storm surge of up to four feet rough surf, and up to 12 inches of rain over the next 36 hours, which may result in significant flash flooding. Portions of the Cayman Islands and western Cuba could experience as much as four inches of rainfall, as well as gusty winds of tropical storm force.

Tropical Storm Zeta is following roughly a similar path as did Hurricane Delta earlier this month, as parts of Cancún, Cozumel, and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico are still recovering from that tropical system:

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to or from Cancun or the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico over the next couple of 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 six 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 Cancún and Cozumel for Sunday, October 25, 2020 through Wednesday, October 28, 2020; and Saturday, October 31, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued a travel alert for Cancún for Monday, October 26, 2020 through Tuesday, October 27, 2020; and Friday, October 30, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued a travel alert for Cancún for Sunday, October 25, 2020 through Wednesday, October 28, 2020; and Saturday, October 31, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Southwest Airlines has issued a travel alert for Cancún for Monday, October 26, 2020 through Tuesday, October 27, 2020; and Tuesday, November 9, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • JetBlue Airways has issued a travel alert for Cancún for Monday, October 26, 2020 through Tuesday, October 27, 2020; and Friday, October 30, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Aeromexico has issued a travel alert for Cancún and Merida for Sunday, October 25, 2020 through Friday, October 30, 2020; and Friday, October 30, 2020 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

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 Tropical Storm 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 progress over the coming days — especially for the Gulf Coast of the United States, which is expected to occur sometime later this week.

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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