Echoing a plea made by officials across the Gulf Coast in the dark hours after the storm passed, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell implored residents to stay at home and let city officials assess the damage.
On the forecast track, the centre of Zeta will move across portions of the southeastern U.S. this morning, across the Mid-Atlantic states this afternoon, and emerge over the western Atlantic by tonight.
Zeta nearly reached Category 3 strength, which means sustained winds exceed 111 miles (about 178 km) per hour for a major hurricane. Its first warning was in 2017 when Hurricane Irma roared into Florida as a deadly Category 4 storm.
Its hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center and its tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles. New Orleans has been in the warning area for potential tropical cyclones seven times this year but has seen them veer to the east or west.
Hurricane warnings stretched from Morgan City, La., to the Alabama/Mississippi state line, including Lake Pontchartrain and metropolitan New Orleans.
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"We're going to get a lot of water fast", said the mayor, Tim Kerner Jr "I'm optimistic regarding the tidal surge because of the speed of the storm, but we're not going to take it for granted". "It was my next-door neighbor's and he wanted to give it to me, apparently", Mr. Smith said.
At present, over 2 million people have been left without power as a result of Zeta downing electrical lines.
Zeta left much of New Orleans and the surrounding area was without power as 200 falling trees and more limbs pulled down utility lines.
"At one point, every major thoroughfare was blocked by trees", Day said.
Just outside Richmond, Virginia, health and nutrition entrepreneur Shireese Borden, 28, waited in line for almost an hour at an early-voting site as heavy rains from Zeta swept through.
The 2020 hurricane season has now thrown 11 named storms and six hurricanes at the United States, with costs of more than $30 billion and insured losses estimated as somewhere up to $26 billion if you include Mexico and the Caribbean, according to risk modellers. Hurricanes are getting stronger and spinning slower, as they pick up energy from the heat in the oceans due to climate change.
Fox News' Brandon Noriega contributed to this report. Officials noted that Zeta is expected to be a relatively fast-moving storm, possibly mitigating the flood threat.