28 October 2020

Zeta will be Louisiana's fifth landfalling storm this season

Hurricane Zeta is poised to make landfall in Louisiana on Wednesday afternoon.  This will be the state's fifth landfalling storm this season, its third landfalling hurricane, and the sixth along the northern Gulf coast. And there's still another month left of the official hurricane season.

As of Wednesday morning, Zeta is centered 300 miles south of New Orleans and is accelerating as well as intensifying.  It's almost a Category 2 hurricane with 90 mph peak sustained winds in the eyewall and is moving north at a brisk 17 mph.  

That forward motion will increase throughout the day, resulting in an amplified and dramatic storm surge to the right of where the center crosses the coast.  The coast of Mississippi could see a 6-9-foot storm surge, while Lake Pontchartrain by New Orleans could see a 3-5-foot storm surge.  The storm's rapid forward motion means heavy rain will be less of a problem, but still not anything to ignore (heavy rain will extend far inland across the southeast and mid-Atlantic states).

These Hurricane Threats and Impacts maps highlight the areas at risk from the four hurricane hazards: wind, storm surge, flooding rain, and tornadoes. The "cone of uncertainty" is overlaid for reference, and to show that impacts always extend far beyond the cone (it is not intended to show impacts at all).

To help illustrate the statement in the opening paragraph, here is a map of the previous five landfalling storms in the area, with Zeta's forecast track added as the thick pink line.

No comments:

Post a Comment