More than 2.6 million customers were without power Thursday morning across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The warning now goes from the Mississippi-Alabama border to the Walton-Bay line in Florida, with tropical storm conditions possible in the area later in the day.
The storm's maximum sustained winds were around 110 miles per hour, with stronger gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Atlantic hurricane season couldn't end soon enough, but the last official day will be November 30.
Zeta's wind, rain and storm surge reached more than 150 miles (241 kilometres) east of New Orleans.
The storm's landfall in Louisiana marks the fifth so far this busy 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. Other widespread outages were reported in Alabama, Mississippi and northwest Florida.
Zeta weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90mph as it moved into southern MS few hours after landfall, but forecasters said it remained a life-threatening storm.
Hurricane warnings stretched from Morgan City, La., to the Alabama/Mississippi state line, including Lake Pontchartrain and metropolitan New Orleans.
'I don´t think we´re going to be as lucky with this one, ' city emergency director Colin Arnold said.
"No one should be complacent because it's late October, and it certainly feels like hurricane season should be behind us", Edwards said.
New Orleans halted city and transit services and advised residents living outside the state's protective levee system to leave for higher ground.
The Gulf Coast is bracing for Hurricane Zeta as it barrels towards Louisiana at 85mph amid warnings of a life-threatening storm surge.
"They've been avoiding New Orleans but finally chose to come", cookie shop worker Curt Brumfield said as he stowed empty boxes in trash cans outside and others boarded up the windows ahead of the storm's arrival.
After it makes landfall in Louisiana, Zeta is expected to weaken as it moves over the southeastern United States and will eventually become an extratropical gale-force low pressure area off the Mid-Atlantic coast by Thursday night, according to the National Hurricane Center. Douglas County officials said voting sites will be closed on Thursday and reopen Friday. Wind gusts could be especially severe across the southern Appalachian Mountains. An average season sees six hurricanes and 12 named storms.
And as the 11th named storm to make landfall in the continental US, Zeta will set a new record, well beyond the nine storms that hit in 1916.
There's never a tiresome moment in Florida - and Michelle covers it as a Real Time/Breaking News Reporter for the Miami Herald.