A hurricane warning has been posted for the Louisiana coast as Zeta is on a course to hit New Orleans on Wednesday after lashing Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Zeta made landfall on the Caribbean coast of the eastern Yucatan Peninsula late Monday as a Category 1 hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm as it crossed over land.
“The storm weakened as it moved over Mexico, we were expecting that,” Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean said on “Fox & Friends.” “It’s wind field looks like it’s broadening here.”
HURRICANE ZETA IS ASHORE IN RESORT ZONE OF MEXICO’S YUCATAN
As of 8 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Zeta is located near the northern coast of the Yucatan and will soon be moving back over the southern Gulf of Mexico.
The storm is located about 540 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph as it moves northwest at 14 mph.
“As it moves over the Gulf of Mexico, the water is warm here, we’re expecting it to strengthen again and perhaps, a landfall of yet another hurricane over Louisiana,” Dean said on “Fox & Friends.” “This time it’s going to be the eastern half of Louisiana. New Orleans, you are under a hurricane warning.”
Forecasts from the NHC show Zeta will approach the central Gulf Coast through Wednesday, making landfall by Wednesday night.
Zeta will likely weaken just before landfall Wednesday evening but will be a borderline tropical storm/minimal hurricane across southeastern Louisiana. Hurricane warnings are now in effect from Morgan City to the Mississippi/Alabama border.
Heavy rain, storm surge and strong winds will be possible along Zeta’s path.
The storm is forecast to bring 2 to 4 inches of rain, with isolated amounts of up to 6 inches across eastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, Alabama and into George.
“We’re going to see the potential for tornadoes as well, especially east of the center where it comes on shore,” Dean said.
Heavy rains associated with Zeta will spread across the Southeast, Appalachians and up the East Coast during the second half of the week.
Zeta will be the fifth storm to make landfall in Louisiana this season across a coastline that’s been pummeled by storms.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an emergency declaration for the state on Monday ahead of the storm as the state’s National Guard is ready.
“We’re doing everything we can to prepare for the storm,” Edwards said.
TROPICAL STORM ZETA ‘RAPIDLY STRENGTHENING’ ON WAY TO YUCATAN, TAKES AIM AT US GULF COAST
The National Guard has boats and trucks positioned for high-water rescues and has food and water ready to provide to victims of the hurricane, he said.
In New Orleans, Emergency Management Director Collin Arnold told FOX8 all 99 drainage pumps across the city are online, though one of the four working turbines is offline for mechanical reasons and isn’t expected to be brought back online for Zeta.
Arnold said Monday there are power generators to stand in their place.
“We’ve done this six times before by my count, this will be number seven, it’s just as serious as when we started this this season with Cristobal, we have to keep our guard up, we have to stay weather aware,” he told FOX8.
New Orleans officials are calling for a voluntary evacuation of areas outside the levee system, including Irish Bayou, Venetian Isles and Lake Catherine, beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said neutral-ground parking will be available Tuesday night, and sandbags will be distributed.
Local officials across southeastern Louisiana were urging residents to take the storm seriously.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE WEATHER COVERAGE FROM FOX NEWS
Jefferson Parish’s emergency management director, Joe Valiente, told FOX8 he was concerned about a weary public after this year’s active hurricane season.
“We know there’s going to be a certain level of complacency in terms of people just don’t want to go ‘not again’,” said Valiente.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP
Pam Guerra, who lives in lower St. Bernard Parish, told WWL-TV she hopes Zeta will be the last of a busy hurricane season that’s caused her and neighbors to move their boats out of harm’s way “about five or six times.”
“We’re tired of moving all of this stuff back and forth, back and forth,” Guerra said. “We love it down here and that’s the only reason why we do what we do.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.