Hurricane Zeta 2020 Archive

October 29

10.29.20 - The following is a quick reference of Okaloosa County road closures, not necessarily incidental to Hurricane Zeta. CLICK HERE FOR ROAD CLOSURES. At the height of closures we had 3 storm-related road closures (anything recorded after 16:00Hrs yesterday.) The map is updated as roads close and open.

October 28

10.28.20 1:15pm - A Tornado Watch has been issued for our area. Please also see the interim update on Hurricane Zeta at now a Category 2 hurricane with max sustained winds of 100 MPH, moving NNE at 20 MPH. No changes in expected impacts to our area at this time. A more detailed updated will follow receipt of the 4PM briefing packet from NWS, which will be very close to landfall time. Stay tuned for further.

10.28.20 11am Zeta Briefing. We’ve completed the briefings with FDEM and NWS (slide deck attached). We are quickly approaching landfall and there will be no further briefings from NWS in order to transition to Response. They will, however, send out briefing packets which I will continue to forward. Key take-aways’ from the briefings: Zeta continues to strengthen and shows signs of further organization. The storm is moving so quickly that the wind shear and cooler waters may not have a chance to have the weakening affect on the storm we had hoped for. This did change impacts to our area, but certainly did for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

  • Forecast track seems stable. No indicators of major deviation at this time. The storm may move as quickly as 25-30MPH as it accelerates NE after landfall.
  • Tropical Storm Force wind probabilities (at least in frequent gusts)- 55% Crestview, 41% Destin
  • Strong Tropical Storm Force wind probabilities (58-73 MPH)- 1% county-wide
  • Hurricane Winds- 0%
  • Scattered power outages possible
  • NW Fl can expect T/S wind arrival around 7PM, lasting through about 1AM. Some gusts could arrive earlier.
  • Storm surge warnings are still to our West and we have a Coastal Flood Advisory of 1-3 feet.
  • Surf conditions have already deteriorated and we are flying double red flags. Surf heights will builds to 10-15 feet and remain high overnight with dangerous rip currents present through Friday.
  • Rainfall of .25”-1” with locally higher amounts possible in areas of training thunderstorms.
  • Tornadoes are still a risk this afternoon through evening hours as supercells move across the area in outer bands.

Again, overall we are extremely fortunate in not expecting major impacts; however, we are prepared to react to them. Our IMT is spooled up and monitoring our local incident in WebEOC. Our Skywarn team has been activated for storm spotting. CERT is spun up to assist USAR if necessary and/or to respond to any tornado impacted areas if necessary. We will continue to provide updates as received.

10.28.20 - 5am Zeta Briefing The only hazard/threat that changed on this update was the wind. The wind threat has again increased across southeast Mississippi and hurricane force wind gusts will be likely across this area along with widespread power outages.  Hurricane force wind gusts will also be possible across interior southeast Mississippi and coastal Alabama where numerous power outages are expected.  Wind damage and power outages will extend well inland due to the increased intensity and forecast increase in forward speed of Zeta. Okaloosa County wind probabilities nudged up a few percent but no great difference in expected impacts. Last evening, the timing changes an hour earlier to T/S winds possibly arriving by 6PM. The new time table (attached in slide deck) shrunk that window again, with arrival near 8PM Wed (gusts arriving before) and ending near 2AM Thurs. The brief tornado threat is still present and can begin earlier in arriving bands. Surf conditions, coastal flood advisory of 1-3 feet, rainfall on .5”-1.5” all remain static. A more-detailed update will be provided after the FDEM and NWS call this morning.

October 27

10.27.20 - 11am Zeta Briefing -  Overview of Okaloosa County Public Safety's call with National Weather Service: We are under a Tropical Storm Warning - Zeta is still currently a Tropical Storm after interaction with the Yucatan but will regain hurricane strength today, and likely be a minimal hurricane at landfall in SE Louisiana Wednesday evening. The system should be traveling very quickly at landfall, estimated 25 MPH to the NE, limiting the rainfall it can drop in our area. We expect the system to be at Tropical Storm strength when it is closest to us. Hurricane conditions are not expected here. - Zeta’s wind field has expanded and interaction with the upper level portion of Winter Storm Billy will allow greater penetration of tropical storm force winds (mainly in gusts) well in-land - Okaloosa County could see sustained minimal tropical storm force winds (40MPH-ish) along the coast beginning around 7PM, with gusts in-land. Higher gusts may occur later in the evening as the storm draws closer to our area. Areas weakened by Sally could see downed trees, powerlines, power outages, etc. A few brief tornadoes can’t be ruled out and can be rain-wrapped. - T/S wind probabilities about 45% Crestview, 42% Destin - Strong T/S winds (58-73 MPH) 7% Crestview, 5% Destin - Hurricane winds 1% all - Time frame of T/S wind arrival- possible gusts on Wed afternoon, with bulk of any sustained winds and worst weather about 7PM Wednesday to 3AM Thursday. These are best estimates based on current information, so changes may occur and timing may change. - We are not in a Storm Surge Warning zone currently, but have a coastal Flood Advisory of 1-3 feet. We are in a neap-tide cycle so high/low tides will not affect water levels much. - Surf of 10-15 feet is predicted throughout the area, mainly Wednesday afternoon though Thursday morning. - Rainfall of .5”-1.5” is predicted with some localized higher amounts in areas where thunderstorms train. River gauges show nothing beyond Action Stage at this point.

+ An Everbridge Alert for Tropical Storm conditions will deploy today. We have already declared a Local State of Emergency and our EOC is dual-activated at a Modified Level 2 Remote for COVID and Zeta. An expanded IMT (Incident Management Team) and IAP (Incident Action Plan) is being finalized. Although we do not expect devastating impact here in Okaloosa County, we feel it prudent to be well-prepared. Chief Schwartz will be reaching out to notify involved personnel for the Ops Meeting.

+ Sandbags and sand have been available since the weekend at 2 locations 24/7 for citizens to fill on their own, free of charge: 1,) 1759 S Ferdon Blvd, Crestview – In the Public Works Yard along Goodwin Ave. 2.) 710 Essex Rd, Ft. Walton Beach – outside the fence in the turn-around area.

10.27.20 - 5am Zeta Briefing - Overview: Zeta has temporarily weakened to a tropical storm but should reintensify back into a hurricane later today.  Zeta should begin to curve to the north by tonight and eventually northeast on Wednesday ahead of a strong upper level low approaching from the west.  Zeta is forecast to make landfall along the coast between southeast Louisiana and coastal Mississippi Wednesday evening and then lift northeast across our area Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Confidence: There is now moderate confidence that Zeta will reintensify into a hurricane and make landfall somewhere along the coast between southeast Louisiana and coastal Mississippi.  Confidence remains lower with regard to the intensity of Zeta.  Zeta is likely to make landfall as a hurricane and gradually weaken as it moves inland.  Zeta is likely to be a strong tropical storm as it moves into our area, but there still remains some possibility that Zeta remains a hurricane while moving across far southeast Mississippi into coastal sections of south Alabama.  Expected Local Impacts: Zeta will likely bring damaging winds, heavy rains, high surf and rip currents, storm surge, and isolated tornadoes.  The threat for local impacts continues to increase, especially with regard to wind impacts. Scattered to numerous downed trees and powerlines are expected along with scattered to numerous power outages.

October 25-26

10.26.20 Although we are not currently expecting devastating impacts here in Okaloosa County from Hurricane Zeta on its current track, circumstances can quickly change, and even impacts less than “devastating” can put lives and property at risk. In an abundance of caution, and with portions of the county in and out of the cone of uncertainty depending on the model run, we have declared a Local State of Emergency to allow us to act with the speed and agility necessary to protect the greatest number of people with the most available resources. CLICK TO DOWNLOAD THE PROCLAMATION.

10.26.20 Tropical Storm Zeta Key Takeaways from Okaloosa County Public Safety's call with National Weather Service and Florida Department of Emergency Management CLICK TO DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION: • The track has remained pretty consistent with a projected Louisiana landfall, though this does not rule out changes as we have seen in previous events. • Landfall is delayed from previous advisories due to the time spent stationary, and this looks to be a mainly Wednesday Afternoon/Evening through overnight event. • Watches are possible as early as with the 4PM advisory for portions of the forecast area. • Zeta is forecast to be a strong tropical storm or minimal hurricane at landfall as it approaches S/E Louisiana- the difference in those two designations is academic only with little difference in impacts. • Impacts will be felt far East of this system as it will be right-loaded due to shear • T/S wind probabilities 20% Crestview, 17% Destin, Strong T/S winds (58-73MPH) 2% all, hurricane winds 0% at this time • Earliest Reasonable Arrival of T/S conditions here Wed afternoon/evening • We are in a neap-tide cycle (little difference between low tide and high tide values), so high tide amplifying any storm surge would be minimal • Dangerous surf conditions, 4-6ft Tues night, 8-12ft possible Wed though Thursday with high rip current risk. • Rainfall 1-2”- this storm is a fast-mover. No concerns on river gauges at this time. • Wed night, marginal risk of severe weather from brief tornadoes, as with any landfalling tropical system. • More-specific storm surge information is expected during the 5PM call after NWS has an opportunity to meet with the storm surge unit. Right now SLOSH and MEOW (Maximum Envelope Of Water) show mostly under 3 feet for our area using a strong tropical storm moving NNW scenario. We will provide more detailed info as available.

10.25.20 - We will have sandbags available at our north and south yards as of 1:00pm today at: 1759 S Ferdon Blvd, Crestview – In the Public Works Yard along Goodwin Ave and 710 Essex Rd, Ft. Walton Beach – outside the fence in the turn-around area. Sandbags and sand are available 24/7 for citizens to fill on their own, free of charge.