The 2020 hurricane season produced thirty tropical depressions, twenty-nine of which became tropical storms. In addition, there were thirteen hurricanes, seven of which became major hurricanes.
Here across southeast Louisiana, seven different storms threatened the WGNO viewing area from June through late October, and Louisiana was included in the Cone of Uncertainty eight times. October 28th, 2020, Hurricane Zeta rapidly intensified in the hours before landfall near Cocodrie as a, now officially, Category 3 hurricane with 115-mile-per-hour winds.
Only as of today in the National Hurricane Center’s post-season analysis was this information confirmed.
Here is the historical data from our WGNO Weather Center regarding landfall just minutes before Zeta tracked inland:
“Hurricane Zeta is quickly intensifying in the Gulf of Mexico with maximum sustained winds at 110 miles per hour moving NNE at 24 miles per hour. This is officially a Category 2 storm, 1 mile per hour shy of a Category 3 hurricane.
Zeta is forecast to make landfall as a Category 2 storm this afternoon with max winds of 105-110+ miles per hour. The Hurricane Hunters continue to find its pressure lowering, and this is a sign the system continues to strengthen.”
As you can see in the featured image, Hurricane Zeta had 110-mile-per-hour sustained winds with 115-mile-per-hour gusts.
Per the Saffir-Simpson scale, Category 2 Hurricanes are classified as those with wind speeds between 96-110 mile per hour winds, while Category 3 Hurricanes are classified as those with wind speeds between 111-129 mile per hour winds. A Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are Major Hurricanes, proving Zeta was, in fact, just that.
This is the reason we always say “prepare for one category higher,” ahead of landfall. With the addition of Zeta as a Major Hurricane, the 2020 Atlantic Season tied yet another record with 2005 for most Major Hurricanes in a single season at 7 total.