Hurricane Zeta Tears Through Southeast Causing Blackouts, Flooding

Tropical Storm Zeta is spinning across the U.S. South after walloping New Orleans, blacking out 1.9 million homes and businesses and leaving a trail of wreckage from Louisiana to North Carolina.

Zeta made landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana, with winds of 110 miles (177 kilometers) per hour, before weakening to 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It’s the fifth hurricane or tropical storm to hit the state this year. There’s never been so many major storms hitting Louisiana or the contiguous U.S. in a single season, said Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher with Colorado State University.

Zeta tore through New Orleans at a brisk 31 miles an hour, leaving at least one dead in its wake. Damages may still total as much as $5 billion. There has been no major flooding, New Orleans officials said at a press conference late on Wednesday. Trees and utility poles have snapped, and the main impact so far is the widespread power outages.

“It is moving briskly and that is good news,” said Rob Miller, a meteorologists with commercial-forecaster AccuWeather Inc. “It is racing quickly and moving away quickly.”

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