Hurricane Zeta Path, Tracker As Trump Declares Louisiana Emergency Ahead of 'Life-Threatening' Storm Surge

President Donald Trump last night declared an emergency in Louisiana and ordered federal assistance to deal with the effects of Tropical Storm Zeta, which is due to make landfall in the U.S on Wednesday morning.

"The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population," said a White House press statement.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said in a Facebook post: "Tonight, we learned that Pres. Trump approved our request for a Federal Emergency Declaration as Hurricane Zeta heads towards Louisiana. We are grateful for the incredibly fast response. Though we don't know exactly what Zeta will bring, we know this will be a big help in the recovery process for those communities that will feel its impact."

Zeta strengthened into a hurricane in the Caribbean on Monday and is due to hit the southeastern states as a Category 2 storm.

Previously classified a Category 1 storm, Zeta has traveled up from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, where wind speeds reached 80mph, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported. It has since strengthened.

Hurricane scientist Eric Blake told residents to make preparations: "This is going to come in very quickly and could surprise people. Make any last-minute preparations now SE Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama!"

"Given its impressive overnight strengthening, there's still a chance Zeta could reach Category 3," said meteorologist Eric Holthaus.

Zeta is strengthening into a "life-threatening storm surge and strong winds expected along portions of the northern Gulf Coast beginning around midday," according to the National Hurricane Center.

Residents in southeastern states Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia are being urged to brace for impact and plan for a severe storm. Those in coastal areas near New Orleans are advised to evacuate as flooding is predicted.

The National Hurricane Center positioned the storm 320 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River as of 4 a.m. CDT Wednesday, with maximum sustained winds of 75mph.

Here are the 4 AM CDT Key Messages for Hurricane #Zeta, which is strengthening over the central Gulf of Mexico. Preparations need to be rushed to completion as tropical-storm-force winds are expected to reach the Hurricane Warning area by midday today.

— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) October 28, 2020

Residents of New Orleans should sign up for SMS updates by texting ZETA to 888777. Subscribers who received texts for hurricanes Delta, Beta, Sally, Laura, Marco, or Cristobal will automatically be subscribed.

Governor Edwards said: "We are prepared at every level of state government to respond and assist with whatever Hurricane #Zeta will bring. Everyone, be prepared, be smart, be safe and have your Game Plan in place. #lagov".

After hitting Louisiana, the storm is expected to travel north, crossing neighboring states into Georgia.

Storm Zeta
National Hurricane Center's predicted path of tropical storm Zeta issue at 1am on 27 October, 2020. NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER and CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER