Tracking the Tropics: Eyewall of Hurricane Zeta moving over New Orleans after landfall

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane Zeta made landfall in southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday evening as a strong Category 2 storm and now has sights set on a second U.S. landfall in Mississippi.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Zeta made landfall around 5 p.m. ET near Cocodrie, Louisiana with maximum sustained wind speeds of 110 mph. By 6 p.m. ET, the eyewall of the storm was approaching New Orleans with wind speeds still at 110 mph, according to the NHC.

“Don’t venture outside when the calm eye of the hurricane passes over, as dangerous winds will return very quickly when the eye moves away,” the NHC warned. “Stronger winds, especially in gusts, are likely on high-rise buildings.”

Trees already getting knocked down. Power going out already 78k around the area. Area of red is the most intense wind. That is moving north and northeast. More damage and power loss on the way. #Zeta pic.twitter.com/1DFhGZO8lv

— Hank Allen (@HankAllenWX) October 28, 2020

Zeta is forecast to make a second landfall along the Mississippi coast Wednesday evening before moving across the southeastern and eastern United States Thursday.

Life-threatening storm surge started along parts of the coast around 5 p.m. ET, according to the NHC. The highest inundation is expected somewhere between Port Fourchon in Louisiana and Dauphin Island in Alabama.

“Overtopping of local, non-federal levee systems is possible within southeastern Louisiana outside of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System,” the NHC said.

Damaging winds strong enough to cause tree damage and power outages are expected along parts of the coast and well inland across parts of southeastern Mississippi, Alabama and northern Georgia, the NHC says. Those winds are forecast to reach the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia on Thursday and, according to the NHC, could be “especially severe” across the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Parts of the central U.S. Gulf Coast into the Mid-Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley, southern to the central Appalachians and the mid-Atlantic states could see flooding due to heavy rainfall forecast through Thursday, the NHC says.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • Mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Navarre, Florida
  • Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Pensacola Bay and Mobile Bay

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Morgan City, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and Metropolitan New Orleans

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Mississippi/Alabama border to Walton/Bay County Line Florida

Zeta had been a hurricane earlier in the week when it made landfall along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 storm, then weakened to a tropical storm as it made its way inland. It reached hurricane strength once again Wednesday morning as it moved over the Gulf of Mexico.

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