NEW ORLEANS—Hurricane Zeta made landfall as a Category 2 storm in southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday evening (Oct. 28), passing over New Orleans around 7:30 p.m. before trekking across the southeastern United States and into the mid-Atlantic states as a tropical storm, leaving more than 2.5 million without power.
There are reports of widespread damage in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Zeta is the fifth named storm to hit Louisiana this year. Louisiana climatologist Barry Keim told The Times Picayune that this is the largest number of named storms to hit the state since record keeping began in 1851.
“If this was a Cat. 2, I have had all I need,” George Ross posted on social media. “I can mark experiencing a hurricane off my list.”
Ross, the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) Send City Missionary in New Orleans, also shared that he had already received reports of damaged churches, stating there “will be opportunities to serve.”
Gibbie McMillan, who leads men’s ministry and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) for Louisiana Baptists, shared that Grand Isle, La., had been hit especially hard. Several utility poles and roofs were destroyed by the wind, and the storm surge damaged several structures.
There have also been reports of significant damage in the Louisiana cities of Chalmette and Slidell, respectively to the east and northeast of New Orleans. Winds knocked out power to roughly 77 percent of residents in New Orleans according to NOLA.com.
McMillan and a few SBDR volunteers delivered a generator to NAMB missionary Kay Bennett at the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans. The generator will help salvage a walk-in freezer full of food that the Baptist Friendship House uses to serve at risk people in the city.
“Through SBDR and Send Relief, Southern Baptists will be ready to assist storm survivors,” said Sam Porter, national director of SBDR for Send Relief, Southern Baptist’s compassion ministry. “Our state directors and volunteer SBDR leaders are busy assessing the damage and determining where the areas of greatest need are.”
The Mississippi Gulf Coast experienced storm surges of up to nine feet according to a report from The Sun Herald. In the report, National Weather Service meteorologist Peter Grigsby said, “From a wind perspective, this is definitely the strongest storm you have seen since Hurricane Katrina.”
The fast-moving nature of the storm was a positive for the Gulf Coast region. The storm, with its 100 mile per hour winds, would have done far more damage had it lingered. In Alabama, however, more than 500,000 are without power, and the number in Georgia is near 1 million based on data collected on PowerOutage.us.
Zeta is the 27th named storm to come out of the Atlantic during the 2020 hurricane season. The number is one shy of the record set in 2005.
Published October 29, 2020