US 'I don't wish Zeta on anyone': Storm upgraded to hurricane, takes aim at Gulf Coast

01:45  27 october  2020
01:45  27 october  2020 Source:   nbcnews.com

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Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico later in the week, and gain hurricane strength.

Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the Caribbean Sunday morning, with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasting the storm could strengthen into a hurricane Tuesday as a midweek landfall is expected on the US Gulf Coast . Zeta could strike the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday.

LAKE CHARLES, La. — Zeta, the storm that formed in the Caribbean over the weekend, gained strength Monday afternoon to become a hurricane, which forecasters warn is likely to make landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast, where storm-beleaguered residents are fearful of yet another round of destruction.

a person wearing a hat © Provided by NBC News

Zeta, the 27th named storm of the 2020 season, had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph as it intensified into a Category 1 hurricane centered about 90 miles southeast of Cozumel island off Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, the National Hurricane Center said.

It is expected to break a record by becoming the 11th named storm to make landfall in the U.S. this season, with southeastern Louisiana potentially getting slammed around Wednesday afternoon, according to forecasters. Heavy rains, however, will already be felt in the central Gulf Coast on Tuesday night, spreading across eastern Mississippi and Alabama.

Hurricane Zeta lashes Mexico's Yucatan with heavy rain and strong winds after making landfall

  Hurricane Zeta lashes Mexico's Yucatan with heavy rain and strong winds after making landfall Hurricane Zeta made landfall in Mexico Monday night, bringing heavy rains and possible storm surge to a region struck by Delta just three weeks ago. © NOAA Hurricane Zeta at 20.6°N - 87.9°W Zeta struck the Yucatán Peninsula north of Tulum, Mexico, shortly after midnight as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The area is being pummeled by strong winds and heavy rains, and the storm is expected to bring storm surge of 2 to 4 feet above normal tides, according to CNN meteorologist Michael Guy.

Tropical storm Zeta forms, could reach US Gulf Coast by midweek. Zeta could be at or near hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and could bring storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts to areas from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

Tropical Storm Zeta is "rapidly strengthening" and is likely to become a hurricane as it makes its way toward the US Gulf Coast , the National Zeta threatens an area already battered in a historic storm season — with so many that the hurricane center has turned to the Greek alphabet after running out

Zeta could revert to a tropical storm by the time it makes landfall in the U.S., said Joe Rua, a lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Lake Charles.

"It's going to be a close call with remaining a Category 1," he said.

A hurricane watch was in effect Monday evening from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama border, including Lake Pontchartrain and metropolitan New Orleans. New Orleans officials also called for a voluntary evacuation Monday of some vulnerable districts as sandbags were being assembled.

No matter the storm's strength, Gov. John Bel Edwards said, Louisiana, which is still recovering from hurricanes Laura and Delta, wouldn't take Zeta for granted. He issued a state of emergency Monday and prepared 1,150 members of the Louisiana National Guard to be activated.

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Zeta will bring rainfall, storm surge and winds impacts to the northern Gulf Coast . It's important to note that impacts from rainfall, wind and storm surge along the northern Gulf Coast will largely be the same no matter whether Zeta is a strong tropical storm or a low-end hurricane when it nears landfall.

The 2020 hurricane season continues to overachieve, as tropical storm Zeta gets stronger over the Western Caribbean. The storm is expected to become a hurricane on Monday But on Wednesday, it should run into strong upper level winds as it nears the Gulf Coast , where the official forecast calls for

"Good thing and the bad thing is we've had a lot of practice this year," Edwards told reporters.

Laura made landfall 1n Louisiana near the Texas border on Aug. 27 as a powerful Category 4 storm, with wind speeds of 150 mph and life-threatening storm surges. Six weeks later, Delta, a Category 2 storm, raked southwestern Louisiana again, marking the sixth time this season that Louisianans had to prepare for a hurricane. Hundreds of thousands of households across Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi were left without power.

Lake Charles, the heart of Louisiana's Cajun country, felt a double whammy of devastation from Laura and Delta. As residents were picking up the pieces from Laura, Delta dealt another blow.

While forecasters say Lake Charles and the rest of southwestern Louisiana are expected to dodge this latest storm, some residents rebuilding from the pair of hurricanes remain wary.

Hurricane Zeta batters a storm-weary Gulf Coast

  Hurricane Zeta batters a storm-weary Gulf Coast Hurricane Zeta, now a Category 1 storm, is battering southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi with high winds, heavy rain and a life-threatening storm surge, according to the National Hurricane Center. © NOLA Ready A break in the clouds is seen above the New Orleans Superdome as the eye of the storm passed over the city on Wednesday. The Category 2 storm made landfall with winds of 110 mph, though it had weakened to a Category 1 storm with 90 mph winds as of 9 p.m. ET, the hurricane center said.

Tropical Storm Zeta is located in the northwest Caribbean. Zeta is likely to become a hurricane before striking Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to strike Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and then head for the northern U.S. Gulf Coast by midweek, where it could bring flooding

A new tropical storm called Zeta formed in the Caribbean Sunday morning, with forecasters predicting it will move north and hit the storm -weary U.S. Gulf Forecasters expected the storm to become a hurricane on Monday before striking the Yucatán and then bring heavy rains and strong winds to the

"Oh, Lord, we've been watching every day since I heard about it," said Hazel Logan, 44, who was getting free meals Monday from the United Way of Southwest Louisiana's hurricane relief center in Lake Charles.

"It's saying it's going more eastward, but they said that with the other storm," Logan said, adding: "I'm just taking it day by day. I can't lie and say I'm not concerned."

a person holding a bag of luggage: Image: Hazel Logan (Bryan Tarnowski / for NBC News) © Bryan Tarnowski Image: Hazel Logan (Bryan Tarnowski / for NBC News)

The roof of Logan's home on the outskirts of Lake Charles was damaged this hurricane season, but that didn't stop her from taking in other family members who had fared worse. The seafood business she operates was also battered — and that was on top of the financial hit she took as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, she's waiting on her insurance to help her rebuild.

"We have been neglected," she said.

Across Louisiana, tens of thousands of residences and other structures were partly ruined or destroyed by Laura, which primarily caused wind damage, and Delta, which brought intense flooding, said Ashley Rodrigue, a spokeswoman for the state fire marshal's office. The agency's surveying is used to help communities obtain federal emergency funding,

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Newly formed Tropical Storm Zeta gradually strengthened Sunday in the western Caribbean and forecasters said it would likely become a hurricane before The lack of steering currents also meant wide spread of possible landfalls when Zeta eventually heads north to the Gulf Coast .

Portions of the Gulf Coast could start feeling the effects of Delta by Thursday night. On Friday, heavy rain and wind hazards will be increasing through the day “As residents along the Gulf Coast know all too well, these storms are unpredictable, and I strongly encourage everyone to take Hurricane Delta

About 95 percent of the 35,000 structures in Lake Charles were damaged, while about 6,000 of its 78,000 residents haven't returned since Delta, officials said. Many went to evacuation shelters and remain in hotels in surrounding cities with the assistance of state vouchers.

Blue tarps cover once-vibrant homes in Lake Charles' residential neighborhoods, and 10-foot piles of tree limbs and debris sit untouched as reminders of one of the worst hurricane seasons to strike Louisiana since 2005, when Katrina and Rita led to economic devastation and hundreds of deaths.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Image: United Way of Southwest Louisiana Hurricane Relief Center (Bryan Tarnowski / for NBC News) © Bryan Tarnowski Image: United Way of Southwest Louisiana Hurricane Relief Center (Bryan Tarnowski / for NBC News)

Since early September, the United Way of Southwest Louisiana's relief center in Lake Charles has been operating drive-thru service to pick up food, water, cleaning supplies and baby products donated from around the world.

The nonprofit has been serving upward of 2,000 meals a day, President and CEO Denise Durel said. While evacuation orders temporarily halted its operations, Durel said, it is ready for whatever Zeta may bring — and whatever the people of the region may need.

"I don't wish Zeta on anyone, on any community," Durel said, "but we're definitely just praying every day it spares us.

"I can't even imagine what the longevity of the damage will be if we get hit again," she said.

Daniella Silva reported from Lake Charles and Erik Ortiz from New York.

Zeta knocks out power to millions across the South, leaves at least six dead .
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