Hurricane Zeta: At least one dead as record-setting storm lashes US Gulf Coast

At least one person has died after Hurricane Zeta crashed on to the US Gulf Coast shore.

Zeta had top sustained winds of 110mph as a category two hurricane at landfall and is the 27th named storm of a historically busy Atlantic hurricane season.

It set a new record as the 11th named storm to make landfall in the continental US in a single season, well beyond the nine storms that hit in 1916.

Roads were flooded near the coast, roofs blown off a number of buildings, and in New Orleans’ famed French Quarter more than 200 trees fell.

And a 55-year-old man died after being electrocuted by a downed power line in the city.

St Bernard parish president Guy McInnis said: “We received the brunt of Zeta, and Zeta gave us a good punch.”

Almost one million people were left without power across the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

On its way to the Gulf Coast, Zeta had hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, toppling trees and briefly cutting power to more than 300,000 people.

By Thursday, as it moved into southern Mississippi, it had weakened to a category one hurricane with winds of 90mph, but forecasters warned that it remained a life-threatening storm.

Residents in New Orleans have been urged to stay home to let officials assess the damage.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said: “Although we have made it through, we have been damaged, we have been hit.”

Of the almost one million people left without power across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, about 350,000 are in New Orleans.

This extraordinarily busy hurricane season – which included the destructive Laura earlier this summer – has focused attention on climate change, which scientists say is causing wetter, stronger and more destructive storms.

An average season sees six hurricanes and 12 named storms – comfortably below what 2020 has served up.

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