Tropical Storm Zeta is forecast to make landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane in the vicinity of Grand Ilse in southeastern Louisiana during the afternoon of Wednesday, October 28. According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 22:00 (CDT) on Tuesday, October 27, Zeta was located 695km (435mi) south of New Orleans (Louisiana) and was sustaining winds of up to 110kph (70mph) after. Although it weakened into a tropical storm after passing over the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), Zeta is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane. Zeta is expected to bring flash flooding as a result of rainfalls reaching up to 102mm (4in) in addition to damaging winds and a storm surge reaching 1.5m (5ft) in some areas.
The NHC has issued the following watches and warnings ahead of Zeta's approach:
- A Hurricane Warning for Morgan City (Louisiana) to the Mississippi/Alabama border. In addition to Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans in Louisiana.
- A Storm Surge Warning for the mouth of the Atchafalaya River (Louisiana) to Navarre (Florida). In addition to Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain (Louisiana), Mobile Bay (Alabama), and Pensacola Bay (Florida).
- A Tropical Storm Warning for the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Oskaloosa/Walton County line (Florida).
- A Tropical Storm Watch between Morgan City and Intracoastal City (Louisiana).
Associated disruptions to transport, business, and utilities are possible over the coming days as the storm system passes.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from late May through to the end of November, with activity typically peaking in late August and early September. Numerous tropical storms form in the Atlantic Ocean during this period, with most affecting the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the east coast of the United States. Although communities in the region are generally well prepared for adverse weather conditions during the hurricane season, severe storms bring a significant risk of flooding and infrastructural damage.
Organized tropical activity tends to peak in August and September. Storms tend to flood sections of highways and cause dirt-based roads to become temporarily impassable. More organized systems, depending on intensity, can prove catastrophic in terms of tidal surge, wind damage, flooding, and mudslides.
Those in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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