Tropical Storm Zeta strengthened into a hurricane Monday and is expected to hit the Gulf Coast Wednesday as a Category 1 storm somewhere between Southeast Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle.
Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an emergency declaration on Oct. 26 and advised Louisianians to get ready once again.
“At this time, the hurricane is expected to be primarily a wind event,” Edwards said. He said 2-4 inches of rain is expected across Southeast Louisiana. More rainfall may fall along the coast, but high speed winds are expected to do the most damage. Strong winds, coastal flooding, heavy rain and tornadoes are all possible, according to the National Weather Service.
“The good thing and the bad thing at the same time is that we’ve had a lot of practice this year,” Edwards said. “Southeast Louisiana has largely been spared while Southwest Louisiana has been hit by two devastating storms.”
“While there is some uncertainty in Zeta’s track, it is likely that Louisiana will see some impacts from this storm, and the people of our state need to take it seriously. It’s easy to let your guard down late in the hurricane season, but that would be a huge mistake,” Gov. Edwards said in a news release. “ Everyone should be monitoring the news for information and should heed any direction they get from their local leaders.”
Between the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple storm warnings, this is the eighth state of emergency declaration in Louisiana in 2020. Two of the emergency declarations were due to Hurricanes Laura and Delta, which forced thousands to relocate into hotels in New Orleans and Texas and left hundreds of thousands more without power.
This is only the second time in history that there has been a storm named Zeta. In fact, it’s only the second time in history that there have been more than 21 named Atlantic Storms and the list of Latin alphabet names has been exhausted. The only precedent for Greek alphabet storms is 2005. Zeta, the sixth letter of that alphabet, was the last storm of 2005 and it formed December 30, a month after the season’s official end. The current Zeta formed Sunday, 66 days earlier. Hurricane season ends Nov. 30 this year.