Rare Hurricane Strikes the US

Zeta, nearly a Category 3, lands near New Orleans
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 28, 2020 5:00 PM CDT
Rare Hurricane Hits Louisiana
Hurricane Zeta winds make the grass that Teddy Johnson, 58, was cutting from a ditch at his family home on Flood Street in New Orleans fly in the air on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.   (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

Hurricane Zeta slammed into storm-weary Louisiana on Wednesday with New Orleans squarely in its path, pelting homes and businesses with rain and howling winds, knocking out power to thousands, and threatening to push up to 9 feet of sea water inland in a Gulf Coast region already pounded by multiple storms this year, the AP reports. Roads were flooded near the coast, where forecasters said Zeta made landfall around Terrebone Bay near Cocodrie, an unincorporated fishing village at the end of a highway with a marine laboratory but few if any full-time residents. Streams of rainfall ran off roofs in New Orleans' famed French Quarter, signs outside bars and restaurants swayed back and forth in the wind, and palm trees along Canal Street whipped furiously.

A few trees were down, and one that fell across utility lines sparked a bright orange flash. More than 100,000 customers were without electricity in Louisiana, including more than 77,000 in metro New Orleans. Zeta had top sustained winds of 110 mph as a Category 2 hurricane and was the 27th named storm of a historically busy Atlantic hurricane season—with over a month left before it ends. It set a new record as the 11th named storm to make landfall in the continental US in a single season, well beyond the nine storms that hit in 1916. Tropical storm warnings were issued as far away as the north Georgia mountains, highly unusual for the region. New Orleans has been in the warning areas of six previous storms that veered east or west this season. This time, Zeta stayed on course.
(More hurricanes stories.)

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