Here we go again – Zeta makes way towards LA.
By ALAN SMASON
With Halloween on tap this weekend, Mother Nature appears ready to frighten the Louisiana Gulf Coast with the seventh named storm in the region and the third to make a predicted landfall in Louisiana.
At 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, the loosely organized center of Tropical Storm Zeta was located at 21.6 N and 89.5 W or approximately 520 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving at 14 m.p.h. towards the northwest with maximum sustained winds of 65 m.p,h.
Authorities expect the storm will intensify into a hurricane once it moves completely away from the Yucatan peninsula and strengthens over the warm waters of the gulf. However, because of anticipated wind sheer and dry air it will encounter, the storm is not likely expected to slow down or remain at the level of more than a Category One hurricane.
New Orleans is in the center of the cone of the predicted path for the storm, which weather authorities expect will turn north and then northeastward after making landfall.
Hurricane warnings have been issued from Morgan City, LA. westward to the Mississippi/Alabama border with tropical storm warnings existing from Port Allen, Texas westward to the Okaloosa/Walton County line in Florida.
Storm surge warnings have gone up from Intracoastal, LA. westward to Navarre, FL. Forecasters suggest a potential storm surge of 5- 8 ft, for the area west of New Orleans from the mouth of the Pearl River to Dauphin Island, AL. Areas east of New Orleans from Port Fouchon and including Lake Borgne could see a surge of 4-6 ft.
Based on its current track, authorities predict landfall late on Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday night.
Previously, Tropical Storm Cristobal affected Southeast Louisiana early in the hurricane season with destructive Hurricanes Laura and Delta making landfalls in Lake Charles and nearby Cameron, respectively.