The National Hurricane Center said Zeta had reached hurricane strength Monday afternoon as it approached the Yucatan peninsula.
Over moving over land, Zeta should emerge into the southern Gulf on Tuesday and then move towards the northern Gulf Coast for a possible Wednesday landfall in southeast Louisiana.
The storm would be moving quickly, moving from landfall Wednesday night to its center possibly over middle Alabama by Thursday morning.
The National Hurricane Center warns of impacts from storm surge, wind and rain from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle. "Residents in those areas should monitor the progress of Zeta, as hurricane and storm surge watches will likely be issued later today," said a NHC discussion.