Hurricane Zeta is nearing landfall this afternoon along the Louisiana coast. Zeta is expected to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane with winds around 105 to 110 miles per hour. The remnants of Zeta will move very quickly across southern Mississippi and into the heart of Alabama overnight and early Thursday morning. While the greatest impacts are expected just to our south across central Alabama, we will see impacts here at home especially east of I-65.
Expect widespread showers to continue through the afternoon and evening as rain continues to develop ahead of Zeta. Overnight, the core of Zeta will bring at times very heavy rainfall to central Alabama and in North Alabama. Areas along and east of I-65 are under a Flash Flood Watch until noon Thursday. Based on the latest data trends, expect widespread heavy rain to begin as early as 2 or 3 AM tonight and last through 8 or 9 AM Thursday morning for areas over Sand Mountain. Areas west of I-65 will see showers tonight, but it will not be quite as heavy. Excessive rainfall rates could lead to ponding on the roadways and localized flash flooding. An additional one to two inches of rain is expected tonight over Sand Mountain in addition to the rain we have seen so far today. Expect lesser rainfall totals below one inch west of I-65. Some spots in far northwest Alabama may only see a few showers as Zeta's remnants moves through. If you are east of I-65, please stay home tonight if you can and hold off any travel plans until mid tomorrow morning. If you must travel overnight, use extreme caution on the roadways and turn on your low beam fog lights as visibility will likely be severely reduced in areas that see heavy rain. The Thursday morning commute will likely be messy for everyone, so use caution as you head to work or school Thursday morning.
In addition to the heavy rain and flooding concerns, we are keeping a close on the gusty wind potential for Sand Mountain. Zeta will be racing through Alabama tonight. While its fast speed will limit rainfall totals, it will mean that the strong winds associated with Zeta will persist further inland. A Wind Advisory is in effect for our Sand Mountain counties from 9 PM tonight through noon tomorrow. Winds gusts upwards of 45 miles per hour also possible overnight and early Thursday morning. Given the soft ground from the rain we have seen and will continue to see tonight, gusty winds could cause trees and limbs to fall. Power outages are also possible.
The good news is Zeta will not be around too terribly long. In fact, much of North Alabama will begin to dry out by lunchtime Thursday and Halloween weekend looks nice, albeit cooler. Nonetheless, stay weather aware late tonight and Thursday morning as Zeta's remnants does move through. Stay with WAAY 31 for updates throughout the evening as we track Zeta tonight. Be sure to visit waaytv.com for the latest school closings and delays as we receive them this evening.