Updated Tuesday, October 27, 2020: Louisiana is bracing once again for a direct hit from a major storm. Tropical Storm Zeta is approaching the Gulf of Mexico very slowly, but is building and gaining strength. The storm struck Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula overnight as a Category 1 hurricane, causing flooding and wind damage before heading out over the open Gulf and weakening slightly back to a tropical storm. Zeta is expected to regain hurricane strength before it makes landfall on the United States Gulf Coast, which is expected to happen on Wednesday.
And if you correctly guessed that forecasters think it’s most likely to make landfall in Louisiana, you’re right. The state, hit by four hurricanes over the past months, needs a break. Zeta is heading for the state, anyway. As of Monday afternoon, storm watchers expected Zeta to make landfall west of New Orleans, near the closely aligned Louisiana-Mississippi-Alabama-Florida state lines. These bore the brunt of Hurricane Sally on September 11, 2020.
And the way Zeta has developed, stalling for a time and then picking up speed, could give the storm the worst combination of threats. Zeta could become a major hurricane, packing both powerful winds and heavy rains.
Residents should keep a close eye on Zeta as it becomes a major storm, and follow state and local authorities’ safety recommendations. This includes any evacuation orders. For aircraft owners with planes in low-lying coastal areas, well, you know the drill, and airports farther inland would love to sell you some avgas.