Zeta has strengthened into hurricane as of Monday lunchtime, with sustained winds of 80mph. It will reach the Gulf Coast of the US on Wednesday.
“We must roll up our sleeves, like we always do, and prepare for a potential impact to Louisiana,” said Governor John Bel Edwards.
Hurricane Zeta is set to be the fifth named storm to hit the state this hurricane season equalling the record set by Florida in 2005.
Storm systems Cristobal, Laura, Marco, and Delta have already hit Louisiana this year.
Zeta is the 27th named storm of 2020, also equal to the record set in 2005 — the year that Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, leading to the city being swamped when levees failed. More than 1,800 people died.
“As we’ve seen this hurricane season, a tropical threat during the ongoing Covid-19 emergency is challenging, but something we can handle,” tweeted Governor Bel Edwards.
“We will once again find solutions for this potential threat while we work to help other areas of the state impacted by #Laura and #Delta. If #Zeta does become a serious threat, we're ready to ramp up our actions as a state to meet the needs of our people and communities,” he added.
210 PM CDT Update: Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that #Zeta is now a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of around 80 mph. More information at https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/wAESCd9FP5
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) October 26, 2020
Zeta is currently offshore of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and should reach Louisiana and the western edge of the Florida panhandle on Wednesday evening.
Heavy rain and flash flooding is expected from the Gulf up through the southern Appalachians, and into the mid-Atlantic states.