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Hurricane Zeta was officially a major hurricane at landfall

Post-season report upgraded Zeta’s max winds to 115 mph -- category 3 strength
Hurricane Zeta was a category 3 major hurricane at landfall in southeastern Louisiana.
Hurricane Zeta was a category 3 major hurricane at landfall in southeastern Louisiana.(National Hurricane Center)
Published: May. 12, 2021 at 8:23 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - We have yet another record to talk about from the 2020 hurricane season. That’s because Hurricane Zeta has been upgraded to a category 3 major hurricane according to a post-season report from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Post-season analysis is conducted on hurricanes every year by the NHC. These analyses translate into a detailed report that’s put out well after hurricane season ends. These reports contain every bit of information you could possibly want about every hurricane to develop the previous year.

So what record has been tied or broken now?

Hurricane Zeta has been upgraded to a category 3 major hurricane.
Hurricane Zeta has been upgraded to a category 3 major hurricane.(WSFA 12 News)

With Zeta being a major hurricane, 2020 is now tied with 2005 for having the most major hurricanes in a single season in the Atlantic. That’s certainly not a record you want to reach.

Zeta is also now the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States so late in a calendar year.

That landfall occurred on October 28th in Cocodrie, Louisiana, to the south of New Orleans. The immediate area around where the eye made landfall is the only location in which category 3 winds were reached, per the report.

After the eye went right over New Orleans, the storm began moving northeastward -- rapidly crossing southern Mississippi before entering western and central Alabama. The rapid movement of Zeta allowed the storm to bring strong to damaging winds well inland across Alabama.

Zeta brought widespread strong to damaging winds to Central Alabama.
Zeta brought widespread strong to damaging winds to Central Alabama.(WSFA 12 News)

The storm actually retained its intensity as a hurricane all the way to nearly Tuscaloosa before being downgraded to a tropical storm.

Over 400,000 customers lost power in Alabama due to Zeta. Damage across the state amounted to more than $840 million according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Many counties across the state had downed trees, power lines and power poles as wind gusts of 40-80 mph occurred along and just southeast of the center of Zeta’s track. Baldwin and Mobile counties were hit the hardest overall with wind and surge, but Choctaw, Clarke, Monroe, Washington, and Wilcox counties were also hit extremely hard. Those counties saw numerous to widespread tree and power line damage. Numerous homes -- estimated to be in the hundreds -- sustained damage in those counties.

The counties of Butler, Chambers, Chilton, Clay, Crenshaw, Jefferson, Lee, Perry, and Talladega all had structural damage as well.

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