Tropical Storm Zeta strengthens, is expected to regain hurricane status Wednesday


NEW ORLEANS (AP/WNCN) — Residents of the storm-pummeled Gulf Coast steeled themselves Tuesday for yet another tropical weather strike as Hurricane Zeta took aim at southeast Louisiana, fraying the nerves of evacuees from earlier storms and raising concerns in New Orleans about the low-lying city’s antiquated drainage pump system.

Zeta, the 27th named storm of a very busy Atlantic hurricane season, was a hurricane when it began raking across Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula early Tuesday.

It emerged in the Gulf of Mexico as a strong tropical storm but is expected to regain hurricane strength Wednesday.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, the storm had 70 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 85 mph.

“Zeta is forecast to strengthen and bring hurricane conditions and dangerous storm surge to a portion of the northern Gulf Coast Wednesday,” the National Hurricane Center said.

Late Tuesday night, the storm was 435 miles south of New Orleans. The storm was moving northwest at 15 mph, as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for the mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Navarre, Florida and for 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 the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Okaloosa/Walton county line in Florida.

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