ORLANDO, Fla. - Hurricane Zeta sped toward storm-weary Louisiana on Wednesday with New Orleans squarely in its path, threatening to push up to 9 feet of seawater inland and batter homes and businesses with fierce winds in a Gulf Coast region already hit by multiple storms during a historically busy Atlantic hurricane season.
Rain pelted the French Quarter in New Orleans, where workers closed one of the last floodgates as residents braced for Zeta, though a few people were still out on Bourbon Street with umbrellas.
The iconic streetcars were idled and City Hall closed, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said, and some roads were already flooded closer to the coast.
Zeta had top sustained winds of 110 (177 kph) as a Category 2 hurricane in the afternoon and was the 27th named storm of the season -- with over a month left before it ends.
Tropical storm warnings were issued as far away as the north Georgia mountains, highly unusual for the region. New Orleans has been in the warning areas of seven previous storms that veered east or west this season.
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:
- Mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Navarre Florida
- Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Pensacola Bay and Mobile Bay
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
- Morgan City Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border
- Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- Mississippi/Alabama border to Walton/Bay County Line Florida
Zeta raked across the Yucatan Peninsula Tuesday, striking as a hurricane, before weakening to a tropical storm.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards asked President Trump for a disaster declaration ahead of the storm. Trump declared an emergency for Louisiana Tuesday evening.
Zeta broke the record for the previous earliest 27th Atlantic named storm that formed Nov. 29, 2005. It’s also the 11th hurricane of the season.
Forecasters have predicted that this season will have more activity than normal. For example, NOAA predicted an above-average season, with 13 to 19 named storms. Six to 10 of those would become hurricanes and three to six of those are forecasted to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).
In comparison, the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane season had 18 named storms, matching 1969 for the fourth most-lively season in the past 150 years.
Hurricane season runs through November 30th.
Watch FOX 35 News for the latest updates throughout hurricane season.