Zeta slams New Orleans
By ALAN SMASON
Hurricane Zeta came roaring across Southeast Louisiana like a freight train with winds of more than 105 m.p.h. registered near Port Fouchon and Golden Meadow, prior to its heavy Category 2 winds heading into the city of New Orleans.
Moving forward towards the northwest at more than 22 m.p.h., the system brought significant rainstorms with it, but because of the speed of the storm that had sped up to 25 m.p.h. on its track northward, flooding was not much of a problem in Louisiana. Officials on the Gulf Coast experienced widespread flooding due to storm surge there, especially in Biloxi and Gulfport.
Several trees and quite a number of utility lines were felled by the powerful winds being driven by the storm as it made its way towards the city and on towards the North shore and beyond towards Alabama and Georgia by late Wednesday and early Thursday. A tropical storm watch was in effect for Atlanta early Thursday.
Debris covered many of the streets in New Orleans making driving conditions hazardous. The massive eye wall of Hurricane Zeta moved across New Orleans at 5;45 p.m. with an eerie reddish calm which lasted for several minutes. Winds on the back side – or southern portion – of the storm were not nearly as powerful and subsided within a half hour. By 6:00 p.m., the brunt of the storm had moved out of the city.
City officials warned residents to stay home and not to emerge from their places of safety until morning. One 55-year-old unidentified man was electrocuted in Gert Town by a downed power line he brushed against while surveying damage from the storm.
Entergy officials expressed concerns about the likelihood that most area homes would be without power for a significant period until the storm has moved out of the city. No crews can attempt to restore power when in the presence of winds of 3o m.p.h. or more.