Zeta back up to hurricane status, could bring life-threatening storm surge to Louisiana, Mississippi

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RALEIGH, N.C. — As expected, Zeta restrengthened overnight and is back at Category 1 hurricane status as it approaches the Gulf Coast.

Zeta is forecast to bring life-threatening storm surge and strong winds to the coastlines of Louisiana and Mississippi, an area already hit hard by tropical systems this year. The storm could intensify to a Category 2 before making landfall in Louisiana.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Zeta has maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, and it is moving north-northwest at 17 miles per hour. As of 5 a.m. EST, Zeta was 320 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Working over land (the Yucatán Peninsula) temporarily weakened Zeta to a tropical storm, but it’s gotten stronger after moving back into open water. Life-threatening storm surge is possible for parts of the northern Gulf Coast by late Wednesday. Hurricane Warnings were issued for parts of Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday. After it reaches the U.S., Zeta is forecast to track northeast toward Georgia and the Carolinas.

Zeta made landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane on Monday night just north of Tulum, an ancient Mayan city located along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Tuesday, Zeta started tracking toward Louisiana, where it is expected to make landfall sometime Wednesday afternoon. The area could feel tropical storm-force winds by as early as Wednesday morning.

Louisiana has felt the brunt of the record-setting 2020 hurricane season. So far, four named storms–Cristobal, Delta, Laura, and Marco–have made landfall in the state.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards urged his state’s citizens to monitor the storm, and the state activated its Crisis Action Team.

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Zeta broke the record for the earliest storm of its name, which was set on Nov. 29, 2005.

This year’s season has so many storms that the hurricane center has turned to the Greek alphabet after running out of official names. Zeta is the furthest into the Greek alphabet the Atlantic season has gone; it happened once before in 2005).

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