Gulf Coast prepares for yet another major storm

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

Southeast Louisiana and Mississippi were under a hurricane watch Monday as yet another named storm threatened the northern Gulf Coast.

Louisiana is in the possible path of a storm for the seventh time during an unusually active hurricane season that doesn’t end until Nov. 30. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he actually was relieved that Hurricane Zeta appeared to be threatening the southeastern part of his state rather than the southwest, which major hurricanes have hit twice this year.

He said that while southeast Louisiana largely has been spared from major storms this season, preparations made ahead of prior storms remain in place.

“We’ve had a lot of practice this year,” Edwards said.

More than 3,500 Louisiana residents are in government-sponsored shelters, mostly Hurricane Laura evacuees who are in hotel rooms.

Wind damage appears to be the main threat from Zeta, which was about 48 hours from landfall midafternoon Monday. Edwards has issued an emergency declaration prior to landfall.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Greg Michel on Monday said there’s a chance Zeta could weaken but urged residents not to get complacent.

“We hope that will happen and break this storm up,” Michel said at a news conference with Gov. Tate Reeves, referring to the storm’s wind shear, according to a news report.

As of the National Hurricane Center’s 4 p.m. update, Hurricane Zeta was about 90 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, moving northwest at 10 miles per hour with sustained winds of about 80 miles per hour. A hurricane watch was in effect from Morgan City to the Mississippi/Alabama border.

A storm surge watch was in effect from Intracoastal City to Navarre, Florida. Tropical storm conditions could be experienced from west of Morgan City to Intracoastal City and from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Okaloosa/Walton County line in Florida.