Oct. 28 (UPI) — Thousands in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are finishing preparations for Hurricane Zeta, a Category 2 storm, which arrived on the U.S. Gulf Coast Wednesday afternoon.
Hurricane warnings were issued for metropolitan New Orleans and other parts of southeastern Louisiana ahead of the storm’s arrival, which forecasters say will bring life-threatening storm surge, strong winds and heavy rains.
Many have made preparations for Zeta, including sandbags, shutters and stocking supplies. The Gulf Coast was also hit by Hurricanes Laura, Marco, Sally and Delta this year, as well as Tropical Storms Cristobal, Fay and Beta.
In New Orleans, the city’s transit authority suspended all ferry service after final scheduled runs Tuesday night and all parking restrictions have been lifted.
New Orleans Public Schools canceled in-person classes for Wednesday.
“We’ve had a lot of near misses this year,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell tweeted Wednesday. “Pretty clear now that [Zeta] will be a direct hit in [New Orleans]. Finish your preparations this morning. Conditions will deteriorate in the afternoon.”
In neighboring Jefferson Parish, officials said nearly 300 drainage pumps and pumping stations are operational and ready for the storm.
At the harbor in Gulfport, Miss., holiday light displays and a Santa’s Village were hastily dismantled and packed away ahead of the storm.
“[We’re] making sure that we protect any of our power components that we have out here by taking those up so the water doesn’t get to those,” Gulfport Special Events Coordinator Catherine Hasty told WLBT-TV.
On Dauphin Island in Alabama, residents prepared for storm surge and flooding. The island is still cleaning up from Hurricane Sally.
“There’s still piles of trash everywhere,” resident Rhett King told WPMI-TV.
“Here we go again.”
Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said the greatest concerns are flooding and power outages. Hundreds of thousands of customers are expected to lose electricity after Zeta passes through.