HOPEDALE, La. — Louisiana coastal communities are on high alert as Zeta makes its way to a possible landfall along the Gulf Coast.
A storm surge watch is now in effect from Intracoastal City to Navarre, Florida.
A hurricane watch is now in effect from Morgan City to the Mississippi and Alabama border.
St. Bernard Parish could be one of the areas hit hard by the storm if it stays on its projected path.
Monday in Hopedale, in the lower end of the parish, Zach Campo and Ricky Boudoin spent the morning moving their crab traps on shore.
It’s the seventh time in recent months commercial fishermen have pulled their baskets out of the water with tropical weather approaching Louisiana.
“You get to fish for two weeks and then you’ve got to pick up,” Campo said. “It’s starting to get like a normal thing.”
“It’s frustrating when you’re making money and you’ve got to pick these things up,” Boudoin said. “You’ve got to do it. Better to be safe than sorry.”
Pam Guerra lives in lower St. Bernard.
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She thought her family was done with hurricanes for the year.
But Guerra says it looks like Zeta will be the last hurrah in what has been a very eventful hurricane season this year.
“We’re tired of it,” Guerra said. “About five or six times we done had to move everything.”
Guerra and many of her neighbors are once again moving their boats and trailers out of harm’s way.
“We’re tired of moving all of this stuff back and forth, back and forth,” Guerra said. “We love it down here and that’s the only reason why we do what we do.”
St. Bernard fishing guide Preston Harden is also preparing to get out.
“The water is still warm out there,” Harden said. “This one’s coming and I’m seeing them hauling the campers and I guess I’m going to haul my camper. I don’t want to get flooded. It’s just do I do it today or wait another day.”
Zeta is now forecast to reach the Louisiana coast at or near hurricane strength on Wednesday. Forecaster say there is now an increasing risk of storm surge, heavy rains, and damaging winds in St. Bernard.
“Just be careful folks,” St. Bernard Homeland Security Director John Rahaim said. “We’re sorry to tell you this again, but don’t let your guard down. Be prepared. Be ready.”
Rahaim now expects a 4-to-6-foot storm surge from Zeta, 2-5 inches of rain between now and Thursday and 70-to-80 mile per hour winds overnight on Wednesday.
In New Orleans, the City is now calling for a voluntary evacuation of areas outside the levee system, including Irish Bayou, Venetian Isles, and Lake Catherine, beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Neutral ground parking will be allowed starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, although residents are asked not to block streetcar tracks, intersections, or bike or walking paths.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell tweeted, “The Department of Parks & Parkways is removing hazards from neutral grounds that could become projectiles in strong winds...including yard & campaign signs. We're asking campaigns to consider pausing sign distribution ahead of Hurricane Zeta.”
If Zeta continues on its projected path, it will be the fifth named storm to make landfall in Louisiana.
That would set a record for the number of storms to hit in one year.
Earlier this season, Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta, Tropical Storm Cristobal and Tropical Storm Marco made landfall in the state.