Wed, 02 Dec 2020

Six Dead as Tropical Storm Zeta Moves Through Southeastern US

Voice of America
30 Oct 2020, 10:05 GMT+10

Tropical Storm Zeta left six people dead and a trail of destruction in its wake as it brought high winds and heavy rain from the U.S. Gulf Coast across the mid-Atlantic states.

In its latest report, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Zeta was on the Virginia-North Carolina border with sustained winds of 85 kph (53 mph) and was swiftly moving to the northeast.

Zeta made landfall as a powerful Category 2 hurricane in Louisiana on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Will Arute, who lives New Orleans, said it sounded like a bomb went off when part of a large oak snapped outside his home and crashed into his car and a corner of his home, The Associated Press reported.

"I did not anticipate this to happen. It was pretty intense along the eye wall when it went through here," he said.

Northern Virginia and Washington were expected to get 2 to 7 centimeters (about 1 to 3 inches) of rain.

Earlier, Zeta made a nearly direct hit on the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, but was also felt farther east in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a very strong Category 2 storm with maximum winds of about 175 kph (109 mph).

At least six deaths have been attributed to the storm. Four people died in Alabama and Georgia when trees fell on homes, the AP reported. Two of the dead were pinned to their bed when a tree crashed through their home, according to Gwinnett County, Georgia, fire officials.

In Mississippi, Leslie Richardson, 58, drowned when he was trapped in rising seawater in Biloxi after taking video of the raging storm, Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer told the AP. And in New Orleans, a 55-year-old man was electrocuted by a downed power line, a Louisiana coroner said.

The website PowerOutage.us says the storm left millions without electricity across seven states, including more than 553,000 in Georgia, 414,000 in Alabama, and 444,000 Louisiana.

Zeta became the fourth hurricane to hit Louisiana this season and the 11th named storm to hit the U.S. mainland this year. It tied a record set in 2005 as the 27th named storm in a season. The hurricane center says that record may fall in coming days because a weather disturbance in the southern Caribbean has a 60% chance of becoming the 28th named storm of the season.

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