BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As of 6:20 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28 the eye of Hurricane Zeta passed through New Orleans.
Zeta made landfall around 4 p.m. Wednesday near Cocodrie, La. as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph.
Winds will increase into the evening hours across the WAFB region. Tropical-storm force winds could extend into portions of Livingston, Ascension, Saint James, and Assumption parishes. For most of the Baton Rouge metro area, however, peak sustained winds will probably stay in the 20 to 30 mph range with gusts in the 30s and 40s. While those are not overly destructive winds, pockets of wind damage can be expected in and around the Red Stick along with power outages.
For the WAFB region, the rapid forward movement along the northeastern track will limit the duration of the wind impacts. The period of strongest winds for metro Baton Rouge will likely be in the 6 to 10 p.m. time frame, with the winds slowly subsiding into the night.
Rainfall is expected to run it well under 2.0″ for most of the WAFB viewing area with many neighborhoods getting less than 1.0″ for the entire event.
Unfortunately, the impacts across metro New Orleans and the southeastern parishes will be far more problematic. While the destructive forces of the winds may not match the effects of Laura early this season in southwestern Louisiana, the greater population and more extensive urban and suburban landscape of the southeastern part of the Bayou State could translate into greater total losses.
For the WAFB area, skies will begin clearing before sunrise on Thursday with temperatures dropping markedly after the advertised cold front moves through. Daybreak temperatures for the Red Stick will be in the low 50°s. Thursday shapes up to be sunny and cool with highs only reaching the mid to upper 60°s. The afternoon could be a little breezy at times but humidity will be significantly lower than on Wednesday, giving us the feel of a fine autumn day.
The forecast looks great for Friday and the weekend, too, with plenty of sunshine for all three days. Highs on Friday will again be in the mid to upper 60°s for the capital region with highs over the weekend in the low 70°s.
Gov. John Bel Edwards warned residents of southeast Louisiana to prepare for power outages from Zeta during a news conference Wednesday, Oct. 28.
The governor urged residents to closely monitor their local news and heed any warnings or evacuation orders from local leaders.
The possibility of Zeta reaching Category 2 strength before landfall is not out of the question. Prepare for significant wind impacts.
Also Wednesday, President Donald Trump approved Gov. Edwards' request for a disaster declaration.
“I appreciate the president’s quick approval of our request for an emergency declaration, especially since Hurricane Zeta has strengthened overnight,” Gov. Edwards said. “This assistance will be critical in responding to this hurricane, assisting local governments and beginning our long-term recovery efforts. Louisiana has faced an incredibly active hurricane season this year, and we have been working in partnership with the federal government and local officials since March on the response to the pandemic in addition to two major hurricanes in southwest Louisiana.” FEMA is authorized to provide Public Assistance Category B emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance for the parishes of Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Livingston, Lafayette, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana. FEMA is also authorized to provide Public Assistance Category B emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance for the parishes of Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Carroll, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, La Salle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, and Winn.
Zeta’s landfall will mark the record-breaking fifth named storm to make landfall in the state in 2020.
Click here to report a typo.