Gulf Coast Prepares Again as Hurricane Zeta Approaches

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As the Gulf Coast braces for the seventh named storm to strike the area this season, it is critical for those in the storm’s path to prepare for impact. This historic hurricane season is continuing to cause unprecedented damage in this area, leaving residents with little time to recover.

Hurricane Zeta’s path is projected to pass over areas recently hit by other hurricanes, increasing the threat of dangerous flooding. The rainfall from this storm system could worsen flooding from the previous storms and impacts could be felt from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

Survivors of hurricanes Laura, Sally and Delta who have faced multiple hurricanes this year, may need support as they cope with the stress of these new and repeated challenges. Survivors can turn to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which has a Disaster Distress Helpline. The helpline provides 24/7, 365 day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to disasters.

While residents along the Gulf Coast may have already faced storms this season, it is important to remember that every storm is different. Even communities unaffected by previous storms should remain vigilant in preparing for the next one.

Residents in the storm’s path should remember the following when preparing for storm surge, rainfall and flooding:

  • Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn around, don’t drown.
  • Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • State and local officials will have the most up-to-date information on evacuation orders and shelter locations.  Residents in Louisiana should call 2-1-1 for evacuation, sheltering and resources for immediate needs.
  • FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program will cover and reimburse policy holders up to $1,000 for certain actions taken to minimize damage to your home and belongings before a flood. Make sure to save your receipts for any of these expenses. For details on what is covered how to take action, view the fact sheet Understanding Flood Loss Avoidance.

As residents in the storm’s path make preparations, FEMA is moving teams and supplies into place. The agency assembled over 5 million meals, over 4 million liters of bottled water and 45 generators near the expected areas of Hurricane Zeta impacts.  FEMA is also staging blankets, tarps, blue roof sheeting and cots to support affected states. These supplies are on the ground, ready to meet state needs.

FEMA has also deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams to Alabama and Mississippi and Mobile Emergency Operations Vehicles to the Gulf Coast to support emergency communication capabilities.

As always, FEMA is working with federal, state, local and tribal partners to execute a state-managed response. For more information on how to prepare for hurricanes, visit

Last updated March 17, 2021