MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hurricane Zeta is moving rapidly through Mississippi and Alabama with dangerous storm surge, strong gusty winds and heavy rain.

Zeta is moving toward the northeast near 31 mph.

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An even faster northeastward motion is expected overnight through Thursday, then a rapid east-northeastward motion is anticipated through Friday.

On the forecast track, the center of Zeta will move into southern Alabama soon and then move quickly across the southeastern eastern United States through Thursday before emerging offshore of Mid-Atlantic coast late Thursday.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 80 mph with higher gusts.

Further weakening is expected, and Zeta should decay into a tropical storm overnight and into a non-tropical gale-force low Thursday morning.

The low should become absorbed by a frontal system over the western Atlantic on Friday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles.

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A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Morgan City, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Mississippi/Alabama border to Walton/Bay County Line, Florida

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • Mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Navarre, Florida
  • Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Vermilion Bay, Pensacola Bay, and
    Mobile Bay

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Zeta was the earliest named 27th Atlantic storm recorded in an already historic hurricane season.

The National Hurricane Center had to turn to the Greek alphabet because there have been so many storms this 2020 season, it ran out of official names.

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The last time the Greek alphabet had to be used in an Atlantic hurricane season was in 2005, the most active season on record, which had 28 named storms, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.