Hurricane Zeta made landfall as a category 2 storm near Cocodrie (Louisiana) on Wednesday, October 28, bringing sustained winds of up to 110mph (180kph) and heavy rain. One man was electrocuted by a downed power line in New Orleans, and officials have warned residents in Louisiana and Mississippi to remain indoors as life-threatening conditions are expected to remain through Thursday, October 29. Significant damage has been reported in coastal communities in both states, and nearly 720,000 homes and businesses have been left without power following the storm.
As of 01:00 (CDT), Zeta had weakened to a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 70mph (110kph). It was located 25mi (40km) south-by-southeast of Tuscaloosa (Alabama), moving northeast at 31mph (50kph). A storm surge warning remains in effect from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border, and for Mobile Bay. A tropical storm warning is in effect from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Walton/Bay County Line (Florida).
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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