Hurricane Zeta is back gaining strength this morning as it is now a Category 1 hurricane with wind speeds at 90 mph. Minor strengthening is expected through the day as it could reach Category 2 strength this afternoon.
The forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows Zeta moving quickly to the north reaching wind speeds of 90 mph before weakening at landfall this evening across the southeastern parts of Lousiana. The NHC no longer thinks Zeta will reach Category 2 strength but there’s still a chance that happens.
Models are locked into a landfall in or near New Orleans on Wednesday evening. This would keep the most significant impacts east of Acadiana and that’s what we continue to forecast at this time.
Wednesday will be a breezy day across Acadiana as winds could gust to around 25-35 mph. The strongest winds will be closest to the center or just east of the center as it makes landfall. That being said, we think the landfall is close enough to St. Mary and Lower St. Martin Parish that winds could gust to 40-60 mph. Damage is possible with wind gusts that strong.
Storm Surge will be mostly a threat east of Acadiana too. Being on the western side of the system, that should draw water out into the Gulf rather than pushing it inland. But areas around St. Mary and Iberia Parish could see a 2-4 foot storm surge.
Tropical Storm Watches have been canceled across Vermilion, Iberia, St. Mary, and Lower St. Martin Parishes. Hurricane Warnings are posted east of Acadiana.
Zeta is a close call for Acadiana but most of the significant impacts should stay east of our area. We’re only expecting scattered rain this Wednesday along with strong wind gusts at times.