Hurricane Zeta upgraded to Category 3 hurricane for the record

Data reanalysis ties 2020 season with 2005 for most major hurricanes

Zeta rapidly intensified into a category 3 hurricane just before landfall in southeastern Louisiana. Zeta’s fast forward motion brought strong winds well inland into areas of the southeastern United States. The hurricane caused 5 direct fatalities and about $4.4 billion in damage in the United States.
Zeta rapidly intensified into a category 3 hurricane just before landfall in southeastern Louisiana. Zeta’s fast forward motion brought strong winds well inland into areas of the southeastern United States. The hurricane caused 5 direct fatalities and about $4.4 billion in damage in the United States. (NOAA)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The record 2020 hurricane season just picked another major hurricane

The National Hurricane Center found that Hurricane Zeta, which struck Louisiana as a Category 2 storm, was actually a major Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph.

Zeta’s pressure dropped another 3 millibars boosting winds to 115 mph (100 knots) within a couple hours after the hurricane hunter’s final measurement and right before the storm hit Louisiana’s coast.

Category 3 hurricanes pack winds at least 115 mph and are considered major hurricanes along with Category 4 and 5 storms.

This upgrade brings the total number of major hurricanes to seven, which ties the 2005 season for having the highest number of major hurricanes in any season (Laura, Teddy, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta and Iota).

After chainsawing a power pole, crews from Entergy separate the pole with a crane as it overhangs La. Hwy 1after it was damaged by Hurricane Zeta at the Wateredge Beach Resort in Grand Isle, La., Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Gov. John Bel Edwards says the damage from Hurricane Zeta was catastrophic in Grand Isle, a barrier island community south of New Orleans that was one of the hardest-hit areas. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The 2020 hurricane season will be remembered having double the average number of storms, setting a record of 30 named across the Atlantic basin. This surpassed the previous most active year in 2005 which had 28 named storms.

Other years in the satellite era with multiple major hurricane landfalls in the conintental United States include: 1985, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2017.

Hurricane Zeta also struck late in season on Oct. 28, setting a new record for the latest major hurricane U.S. landfall.


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