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Hurricane watch issued for Gulf Coast ahead of Zeta

Posted at 7:35 AM, Oct 26, 2020

A historically active Atlantic Hurricane season is nearing a close, but there appears to be at least one more threat looming in the Caribbean Sea.

Hurricane Zeta is currently churning just south of the Yucatan Peninsula with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph — and is currently projected to make landfall on the Louisiana coast later this week.

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for portions of the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts on Monday. The hurricane watch runs from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Alabama/Mississippi border.

The hurricane gained hurricane status Monday afternoon after Hurricane Hunters flew through the storm. In addition to gustier winds, the Hurricane Hunters found Zeta's pressure has dropped.

According to the National Hurricane Center's latest update, Zeta is projected to make landfall on the eastern part of the Louisiana coastline on Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning. At that point, officials believe the system will be "at or near hurricane strength."

Zeta is the 28th named storm of 2020 — the second-most all-time in a single year. And no region has been targeted more by tropical storms this year than the Louisiana coast.

The Louisiana coastline has already been targeted by four major storms this year — Cristobal, Laura, Marco and Delta. The strongest of those storms, Laura, reached category 4 status and caused extensive damage to the Lake Charles area, contributing to 17 deaths in the U.S.

According to one NOAA researcher, the Louisiana coast has spent more than three whole weeks in NHC forecast cones this year, by far the most of any region.