LIVE updates: Hurricane Zeta roars toward Gulf Coast with life-threatening storm surge
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — Zeta, a fast-moving hurricane which has strengthened to a Category 2, was racing toward a storm-weary Louisiana and the Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
Landfall is expected south of New Orleans between 5 p.m. and 7 pm. local time, with strong winds hitting the coast from central Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.
Workers closed one of the last floodgates surrounding New Orleans ahead of landfall, with evacuees from earlier storms are on edge.
“You should be finalizing your preparations,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday morning.
New Orleans officials were working to make sure there is enough electricity to run the city’s aging drainage pumps after a generating turbine broke down.
Perhaps the biggest threat will be storm surge of up to 7 feet in Louisiana and up to 9 feet in Alabama and Mississippi. Tropical storm warnings were issued as far north as the north Georgia mountains.
Wind gusts were expected to reach 75 to 100 mph in New Orleans. The city canceled all public school classes for the day, and New Orleans Regional Transit Authority suspended all bus, streetcar and ferry services beginning at noon.
Louisiana has been especially hard-hit this hurricane season. Zeta will become the third hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana in two months.
After Wednesday, Zeta’s remnants will move into the Northeast U.S. bringing rain and snow. The first accumulating, widespread snowfall of the season is possible for Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York’s Hudson Valley.
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