Hurricane Zeta strengthened and sped up overnight as it approaches landfall in Louisiana later Wednesday, according to the latest National Hurricane Center advisory.
The storm is expected to bring hurricane-force winds along with dangerous storm surge to a portion of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
The first hurricane and storm surge warnings were issued for Louisiana on Monday.
The storm was expected to speed up as it moved into the Gulf, turning toward the Louisiana coastline and making landfall Wednesday afternoon as a hurricane, according to the NHC. It is then forecast to move inland over the southeastern and eastern United States on Wednesday.
The USA Today Network Louisiana will be covering the storm. Follow here for live updates on Zeta throughout Wednesday.
11:15 a.m. Wednesday: Baton Rouge and New Orleans schools close, dismiss early as Zeta approaches
Schools in East Baton Rouge Parish will dismiss early at 12:30 p.m., with elementary schools dismissing at 1:30 p.m.
New Orleans Public Schools will end virtual learning by noon Wednesday. Due to the storm, food service will not be offered to families for pick-up Wednesday.
New Orleans Catholic schools will have virtual learning Wednesday.
The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts will close at 1 p.m. Wednesday and reopen at 1 p.m. Thursday.
Trinity Episcopal School in New Orleans is closed Wednesday.
All FirstLine Schools in New Orleans will have distance learning Wednesday. There will be no in-person classes. These schools are Samuel J. Green Charter School, Arthur Ashe Charter School, Langston Hughes Academy, Phillis Wheatley Community School, and FirstLine Live Oak Charter School.
Southern University and Southern University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge are closing early at 12 p.m. Southern University New Orleans is shifting to virtual learning for Wednesday.
University of Holy Cross in New Orleans is closed Wednesday, and an announcement will be made regarding Thursday.
At the University of New Orleans, all classes will be online starting Wednesday.
Louisiana State University will close at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday due to Hurricane Zeta and reopen as normal Thursday.
All classes and activities scheduled to occur at 12:30 p.m. or later — whether in-person or virtual — are cancelled. But LSU Online courses which will proceed as scheduled.
Any LSU classes that are still in progress at 12:30 p.m. should be ended at that time in expectation of inclement weather this afternoon.
The 12:30 p.m. closure includes the University Laboratory School, the LSU Early Childhood Education Laboratory Preschool, and all on-campus COVID-19 testing locations.
At Tulane University of Louisiana, all operations Wednesday, including evening classes, will be conducted online. Campuses will be closed Wednesday to all except essential personnel.
See the full list of school and college closures here.
10:55 a.m. Wednesday: Zeta appears to still be intensifying
Weather Tracker Cody Fields tweeted that “bubbling convective bursts in the northeast eyewall suggest Zeta is still intensifying and has probably become a Category 2 hurricane. Colder waters may level the storm off in these final hours before landfall.”
10:50 a.m. Wednesday: Tropical storm watches and warnings from Zeta extend into North Carolina
While a quick-moving Zeta will keep the heavy rainfall threat on the move, it will also help bring strong wind gusts well inland. Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings currently extend all the way into North Carolina.
10:45 a.m. Wednesday: Conditions deterioriating as Zeta approaches Louisiana shore
Conditions are deteriorating along the northern Gulf Coast as Hurricane Zeta churns closer to shore, AccuWeather reports.
The storm is located about 235 miles south-southwest of New Orleans, moving at a rapid pace of 18 mph. Outer bands are already beginning to move inland.
10:35 a.m. Wednesday: FEMA ‘on the ground and ready for Hurricane Zeta’
FEAM is on the ground and ready for Hurricane Zeta, Administrator Pete Gaynor tweeted.
“As we prepare for potential impacts, we have pre-positioned supplies along the Gulf Coast, including: 5 million meals, 4 million liters of bottled wate, 45 generators, tarps, blue roof sheeting, blankets and cots,” Gaynor wrote.
10:30 a.m. Wednesday: NWS New Orleans radar station picking up
eye of Hurricane Zeta
The National Weather Service in New Orleans reports starting to be able to see the eye of Hurricane Zeta on its local KLIX radar station, as the eye of the storm is located about 160 miles from the Louisiana coastline Wednesday morning.
10:15 a.m. Wednesday: Storm surge warning from Zeta remains in effect from Port Fourchon to Dauphin Island
A storm surge warning from Hurricane Zeta remains in effect Wednesday morning from the mouth of the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana, to Navarre, Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center. The highest inundation (5-9 feet above ground level) is likely to occur between Port Fourchon, Louisiana, and Dauphin Island, Alabama.
10:05 a.m. Wednesday: These school systems are closing or going virtual because of Zeta
Due to the potential threat of Hurricane Zeta, all Terrebonne Parish Public Schools are closed Wednesday. Assignments were sent home with all students to account for Wednesday’s school work, according to the district.
All offices and schools of the Lafourche Parish School Board will be closed Thursday, but all employees will work remotely. Virtual learning will be offered to all Lafourche Parish School Board students “to the best of our ability” Thursday, district officials said.
If power outages occur, all virtual activities will be canceled. Any student who is unable to complete the assignments will be excused and allowed to make up any missed work. Classes are expected to resume Friday.
In an effort to support the safety of students and staff, the schools of St. Mary Parish are conducting distance learning Wednesday. Schools will reopen Thursday. Any updates will be posted on the district website and shared on school websites as well, officials said.
In St. Martin Parish, Stephensville Elementary will dismiss at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in preparation for impending weather conditions from Hurricane Zeta, district officials announced. Other schools remain at normal operations.
Buildings of St. Bernard Parish Public Schools are closed for in-person learning Wednesday, but all students are to continue at-home learning, district officials said.
Students in grades 3-12 with internet connectivity will be given a device and should access all learning materials through our online platforms by clicking the CLEVER link on school websites.
Students without access to internet and those in grades K-2 will be given a paper-and- pencil assignment. Students in the Virtual Learning Program are to continue their coursework.
The teachers of Plaquemines Parish Schools provided assignments and lessons for students to learn virtually Wednesday due to Zeta. This is considered an instructional day, and students are expected to complete all assignments provided.
See the full list of school and college closures here.
10 a.m. Wednesday: NHC warns of ‘strong, damaging wind gusts’ from Hurricane Zeta
Key messages from the National Hurricane Center’s 10 a.m. update include warnings that “strong, damaging wind gusts will spread across much of the southeastern U.S. overnight and on Thursday, potentially causing tree damage and power outages.”
9:10 a.m. Wednesday: Louisiana colleges announce campus closures ahead of Hurricane Zeta
Due to anticipated impacts from Hurricane Zeta, all Red River Community College
All classes at Nunez Community College will be virtual Wednesday. The school’s main campus is in Chalmette.
All operations of Fletcher College in Terrebonne Parish are moved to remote work, and buildings are closed Wednesday. All classes will be conducted via remote instruction, and all employees will work remotely. Students and faculty should notify their supervisor or instructor if experiencing disruptions in work or classes, the school said.
All Delgado Community College campuses, which are located in and around New Orleans, except the Maritime Training Center are closed Wednesday for Zeta. There will be no classes or work including remote, online and virtual activities. College officials are asking faculty, staff and students to focus on safety and storm preparations, according to a tweet from the college.
Northshore Technical Community College, with campuses in and around Hammond, in will shift to remote work and learning Wednesday.
South Louisiana Community College in Acadiana is operating on regular schedules as officials closely monitor Zeta. The next college update will be issued midday Wednesday, according to SLCC.
See the full list of school and college closures here.
9 a.m. Wednesday: Zeta to be 11th named storm to hit continental U.S. in 2020, breaking prior record
Zeta will be the 11th named storm to make landfall along the continental U.S. in 2020, setting a record, according to meteorologist Philip Klotzbach. He tweeted a map showing landfall locations of the 10 thus far. The prior record was nine in a season in 1916, he said.
8:45 a.m. Wednesday: Zeta breaks record with 90 mph winds, late-in-the-season arrival
Meteorologist Philip Klotzbach tweeted that Zeta, with its current max winds of 90 mph, is the strongest hurricane this far west (91.7°W) in the Gulf of Mexico this late in the calendar year on record.
8:30 a.m. Wednesday: Jim Cantore sees water rising in Mississippi
“Already about a foot of water rise here along coastal Mississippi. #zeta expecting 6-9 FEET!” Weather Channel reporter Jim Cantore tweeted with a video Wednesday morning.
8:15 a.m. Wednesday: Evacuation orders in place for multiple Louisiana parishes ahead of Zeta
Government officials along the Louisiana Gulf Coast have issued voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders taking effect Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of Zeta.
In Orleans Parish, a voluntary evacuation for areas outside levees that include Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine and Irish Bayou starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Jefferson Parish officials issued a mandatory evacuation for the town of Jean Lafitte, Lower Lafitte, Crown Point and Barataria beginning at 6 a.m. Wednesday. A mandatory evacuation order for Grand Isle was issued at noon Tuesday.
The Lafourche Parish president issued a mandatory evacuation for residents and businesses south of the Leon Theriot Floodgate in Golden Meadow and other low-lying areas of Lafourche Parish, effective Wednesday at 6 a.m.
In Terrebonne Parish, there is a mandatory evacuation of Zone 1 effective at 10 a.m. Wednesday, due to the potential of 2-4 feet of storm surge outside of the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District Morganza to the Gulf Levee System and the coastal areas of the parish.
Plaquemines Parish has ordered voluntary evacuation orders effective 8 a.m. Wednesday for the entire East Bank of the parish and the West Bank of Plaquemines Parish from Phillips 66 Alliance Refinery to Venice.
8 a.m. Wednesday: National Hurricane Center expects ‘life-threatening storm surge’ later today
A life-threatening storm surge is expected later today as Zeta impacts the Northern Gulf Coast. Here is the latest peak storm surge forecast, from 1-3 feet in Intracoastal City to 5-7 feet around Grand Isle.
7:50 a.m. Wednesday: When prepping for Zeta, get food, water and medications to last at least 3 days, officials say
The New Orleans Health Department advises those evacuating or prepping for Zeta to gather enough last-minute emergency supplies to last at least three days. Food, water and medications are essential.
7:40 a.m. Wednesday: Jim Cantore says to ‘hunker down’ Wednesday morning before Zeta hits
Famous weather reporter Jim Cantore tells folks to “Hunker down; here we go” on Twitter Wednesday morning, as the peak storm surge is estimated to be 6-9 feet along the Mississippi coast.
7:30 a.m. Wednesday: New Orleans shrimpers catching ‘tons’ as Zeta approaches
A New Orleans TV station reports that “At least 40 fishermen and shrimpers are out on the lakefront catching tons of shrimp as Tropical Storm Zeta heads towards New Orleans” late Tuesday night.
7:20 a.m. Wednesday: NWS advises New Orleans to ‘complete all preparations’ for Zeta
As Zeta approaches the southeast Louisiana coast, the National Weather Service in New Orleans reminds residents to “complete all preparations this morning.” Hurricane Warnings have been expanded to include Pearl River County and Washington Parish, as of the 7 a.m. update.
7 a.m. Wednesday: When will Zeta make landfall?
Hurricane Zeta has strengthened and sped up overnight as it barrels toward landfall in Louisiana on Wednesday.
Hurricane Zeta is located 295 miles south-southwest of New Orleans, according to the 7 a.m. National Hurricane Center forecast. Zeta is moving north at 17 mph with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. It is expected to make a turn to the north-northeast later this morning.
The storm will approach the northern Gulf Coast this morning and make landfall in southeastern Louisiana this afternoon.
5:30 a.m. Wednesday: Zeta could make landfall as a Category 2 storm
Forecasters, including Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore, are saying the storm could continue strengthening as it approaches landfall, reaching the Louisiana coast as a Category 2 hurricane. The stronger storm threatens higher storm surge as a result.
5 a.m. Wednesday: Zeta strengthens overnight
Zeta strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane and is located 355 miles south-southwest of New Orleans, according to the latest NHC advisory. Landfall is expected later today.
Portions of the coast could start seeing life threatening storm surge and strong winds around midday, according to the NHC.