Gov. Edwards holds briefing after surveying Zeta damage in Southeast Louisiana

Tracking the Tropics

JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) –  Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to hold a media briefing Friday morning after surveying damage caused by Hurricane Zeta in Southeast Louisiana.

Edwards traveled to the region Friday, joining local officials and lawmakers to survey the damage and hosting a Unified Command Group meeting as the state continues to coordinate response to the latest hurricane to hit Louisiana.

Hurricane Zeta made landfall around 4 p.m. Wednesday near Cocodrie with 110 mph winds before moving into the New Orleans area and into neighboring Mississippi, continuing northeastward through the Southeast and into the Mid-Atlantic, leaving millions without power and at least six people dead.

Edwards said the state sustained “catastrophic” damage on Grand Isle in Jefferson Parish, where Zeta punched three breaches in the levee. Edwards ordered the Louisiana National Guard to fly in soldiers to assist with search and rescue efforts and urged continued caution.

A man was electrocuted in New Orleans, and four people died in Alabama and Georgia when trees fell on homes, authorities said. They included two people who were left pinned to their bed, Gwinnett County fire officials said.

And in Biloxi, Mississippi, Leslie Richardson, 58, drowned when he was trapped in rising seawater after taking video of the raging storm. Richardson and another man exited a floating car and desperately clung to a tree before his strength “just gave out,” Harrison County coroner Brian Switzer said.

Zeta was the 27th named storm of a historically busy year with more than a month left in the Atlantic hurricane season. It set a new record as the 11th named storm to make landfall in the continental U.S. in a single season, well beyond the nine storms that hit in 1916.

On Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center was monitoring a new disturbance in the tropics.

The system has a 70% chance of developing into at least a tropical depression in the next 48 hours, and a high 80% chance of developing within five days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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