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Roads, ports closed after Hurricane Zeta slams Gulf Coast (with forecast video)

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Damage from Hurricane Zeta on Belle Chase Highway at the Budget Saver strip mall

Hurricane Zeta lashed southeastern Louisiana as the eye passed over the state Wednesday night.

Flint Energies also reported outages across Middle Georgia, with almost 300 Flint Energies customers in the Macon area alone without power early Thursday. The warning now goes from the Mississippi-Alabama border to the Walton-Bay line in Florida, with tropical storm conditions possible in the area later in the day.

Louisiana has been especially hard-hit this hurricane season.

People look at a downed part of a tree after Hurricane Zeta made landfall.

The storm's landfall in Louisiana marks the fifth so far this busy 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. This could lead to widespread power outages.

Wind gusts of 90 to 100 miles per hour are possible along the immediate coastline where Hurricane Zeta makes landfall, the strongest winds confined to the storm's eyewall, or the ring of most intense thunderstorms surrounding the center.

On Thursday morning, the Coast awoke to begin assessing the damage.

Zeta's damaging winds will reach New Orleans, about 98 miles northeast from Cocodrie, Louisiana, and sweep "across portions of southeastern Mississippi, Alabama, and northern Georgia", said hurricane center forecaster Richard Pasch.

"I don't think we're going to be as lucky with this one", city emergency director Colin Arnold said.

New Orleans officials announced that a turbine that generates power to the city's aging drainage pump system broke down Sunday, with no quick fix in sight. It was the strongest hurricane to hit the continental US this late in the season since 1899.

- Admiral Karl Schultz (@ComdtUSCG) October 28, 20205 PM CDT Hurricane #Zeta update: The eyewall of Zeta is approaching New Orleans with strong winds, while life-threatening storm surge is ongoing near the coast. On Tuesday, Zeta struck Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, which was still recovering from Hurricane Delta's landfall just three weeks ago.

Explainer: What is "storm surge"?

Days before the storm arrived, New Orleans officials said a power generator to the city's drainage pump system had broken down - and they'd be unable to fix it in time for the storm, forcing them to resort to a backup power system. The deteriorating weather forced early voting sites to close for hours in the western Florida Panhandle, where Republicans dominate.

And as the 11th named storm to make landfall in the continental US, Zeta will set a new record, well beyond the nine storms that hit in 1916. Rains of 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) are expected from Gulf Coast to the central Appalachians, the NHC said.

There's never a boring moment in Florida - and Michelle covers it as a Real Time/Breaking News Reporter for the Miami Herald.

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