Tracking the Tropics: Eyewall of Hurricane Zeta moving quickly through southeast after landfall

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane Zeta made landfall in southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday evening as a strong Category 2 storm and has sights set on a second U.S. landfall in Mississippi.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Zeta made landfall around 5 p.m. ET near Cocodrie, Louisiana with maximum sustained wind speeds of 110 mph. By around 11 p.m. ET, the storm was 80 mph with the eyewall of the storm expected to move into southern Alabama and then move quickly across the southeastern United States through Thursday.

“Don’t venture outside when the calm eye of the hurricane passes over, as dangerous winds will return very quickly when the eye moves away,” the NHC warned. “Stronger winds, especially in gusts, are likely on high-rise buildings.”

Life-threatening storm surge started along parts of the coast around 5 p.m. ET, according to the NHC. The highest inundation is expected somewhere between Port Fourchon in Louisiana and Dauphin Island in Alabama.

“Overtopping of local, non-federal levee systems is possible within southeastern Louisiana outside of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System,” the NHC said.

Damaging winds strong enough to cause tree damage and power outages are expected along parts of the coast and well inland across parts of southeastern Mississippi, Alabama and northern Georgia, the NHC says. Those winds are forecast to reach the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia on Thursday and, according to the NHC, could be “especially severe” across the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Parts of the central U.S. Gulf Coast into the Mid-Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley, southern to the central Appalachians and the mid-Atlantic states could see flooding due to heavy rainfall forecast through Thursday, the NHC says.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • Mouth of the Pearl River to Navarre, Florida
  • Pensacola Bay and Mobile Bay

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Mississippi/Alabama border to Walton/Bay County Line Florida

Zeta should decay into a tropical storm overnight and into a non-tropical gale-force low Thursday morning.

The storm killed at least one person, a 55-year-old man who a Louisiana coroner said was electrocuted by a downed power line.

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