A fast-moving Zeta weakened to a tropical storm as it barreled northeast Thursday morning after ripping through Louisiana and Mississippi where storm-weary residents were advised to stay indoors overnight while officials assessed the havoc the storm had wrought. The storm raged onshore Wednesday afternoon in the small village of Cocodrie in Louisiana as a strong Category 2 and then moved swiftly across the New Orleans area and into neighboring Mississippi, bringing with it both fierce winds and storm surge, the AP reports. There was heavy rain at times but since the storm was so fast-moving, rain-related flooding wasn't as much of a concern. Much of New Orleans and the surrounding area was without power Wednesday night.
Zeta weakened over central Alabama but its strong winds continued across portions of the state and the Florida Panhandle. The storm killed a 55-year-old man whom a Louisiana coroner said was electrocuted by a downed power line in New Orleans, and officials said life-threatening conditions would last into Thursday. There was also a death in southern Mississippi, WLOX-TV reports. Waveland Mayor Mike Smith told the station that his Mississippi Gulf Coast city, which was part of the area most heavily damaged by 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, has maybe taken the worst hit since then from Zeta. "We’re going to see a whole lot of damage in the morning," he said.
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