Hurricane Zeta Slams Louisiana Coast as Strong Category 2 Storm, New Orleans Takes Cover

Hurricane Zeta unleashed fury on the southeast Louisiana coast Wednesday afternoon, making landfall as a strong Category 2 storm. Winds from Zeta were measured at 110 mph as it made landfall in Port Fourchon, and now it's aiming for a direct hit on New Orleans and then Biloxi, Mississippi.

The National Hurricane Center announced Wednesday at 4 p.m. that Zeta's eyewall had finally reached land after traveling over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and then through the marshy areas of southeast Louisiana.

The southeastern part of the state is low-lying, and the storm surge, combined with rain, is expected to bring heavy floods to the area. New Orleans actually lies below sea level, and it's always prone for flooding during heavy rains and hurricanes.

By 5:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday, there were reports that at least 150,000 Entergy customers were without power in South Louisiana.

Zeta is not expected to be one of the mythical big ones that could devastate the city of New Orleans by a direct hit, but it is expected to bring damage to structures and create street flooding.

New Orleans Superdome
Hurricane Zeta is expected to hit New Orleans on the afternoon of October 28, 2020, after making landfall as a Category 2 storm earlier southwest of the city. Shown here, members of the U.S. National Guard arrive at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as New Orleans prepares for Hurricane Nate on October 7, 2017 in New Orleans. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The NHC said hurricane conditions will be expected from New Orleans, all the way east to Dauphin Island, Alabama—which is just west of Mobile Bay. NHC said areas should expect "strong, damaging winds" that could cause tree damage and power outages in areas of Zeta's path.

Zeta is the 11th named storm to hit the United States this season, and it's the fifth named storm to make landfall in Louisiana this hurricane season, which doesn't officially end until November 30.

The named storms to hit Louisiana this hurricane season are:

Tropical Storm Cristobal — June 7
Made landfall in southeast Louisiana and then traveled to the northeast part of the state

Hurricane Laura — Aug. 27
Slammed cameron and Lake Charles as a devastating Cat 4 storm

Tropical Storm Marco — Aug. 25
Downgraded to a tropical storm before making landfall in southeast Louisiana

Hurricane Delta — Oct. 9
Hit Jennings as a Cat 2 storm

Hurricane Zeta — Oct. 28
Hit Port Fourchon as a Cat 2 storm, then headed to New Orleans

Zeta became the 27th named storm in the Atlantic Basin this year, which is a record for the earliest there has ever been a 27th named storm. Though the hurricane season begins June 1 every year, the Atlantic was active early, as there were three named storms in May.

There were so many storms in 2020 that all alphabetically-planned names were taken, so the storms began taking on the letters of the Greek alphabet.

Louisiana has spent a total of three weeks in the cone path of various storms this season, according to a researcher for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.