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Since 2012 on the now retired Weather Underground blogs, I have been posting annotated "birdseye view" charts of the Atlantic basin, with a detailed explanation and forecasting that references the chart. From there you may know me as "NCHurricane2009." While I now do these "birdseye view" posts here, I will continue to do comments at Yale Climate Connections via Disqus where the former Weather Underground community has moved to. Feel free to reply to me there, at my Disqus feed at this link, or via e-mail at 

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*******Note that forecasts and outlooks in this post are NOT the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). They are my own detailed views on the Atlantic tropics based on current observations and latest computer model runs. As such do not make decisions based on my posts...consult news and warnings from your local weather office...and any evacuation orders issued by local governments to make the most informed and best decisions. Visit the NHC website (hurricanes dot gov) for the latest watches/warnings and official forecasts on active tropical cyclones.**********

...WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 28 2020 5:03 PM EDT...

Satellite image of Hurricane Zeta as of 2036Z:

Hurricane Zeta unexpectedly strengthens to a top end category 2 hurricane with 110 mph maximum sustained winds while about to make landfall across southeast Louisiana...New Orleans metro to be directly struck as well possibly at category 2 force as Zeta is rapidly accelerating northeast and will not have much time to weaken after landfall and before hitting New Orleans. Time to prepare is will have to hunker down in a sturdy building and interior room in the lowest floor possible when the wind strikes...especially if you have not boarded up windows due to the unexpected intensification. The wind threat has increased for southern Mississippi...eastern Alabama...and much of Georgia as Zeta’s rapid motion and now higher strength will make it hard for Zeta to weaken before moving well inland. Heavy rainfall with some flash flooding potential from Zeta and its remnants is possible in the above mentioned land areas as well the Carolinas and Virginia...Delaware and Maryland.

We know Zeta is interacting with a jet of upper southwesterly flow ahead of an upper trough tied to the incoming south-central US frontal system. We initially expected the jet to cut across the circulation of Zeta and shear it. Instead it appears the jet is just north of the hurricane rather than cutting through the top of the hurricane...thus enhancing the northern upper outflow channel for surface pressure falls and intensification. After landfall...weakening should occur as we usually see from a hurricane.

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