NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — At least three people have died as Hurricane Zeta pounded New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast with heavy rains and howling winds before rapidly making its way through Mississippi and Alabama with strong gusty winds, heavy rains and dangerous storm surge.
Zeta left a trail of destruction before turning toward the Northeast. The storm ripped apart roofs and knocked out power to more than 3.5 million customers across six southern states.
A 55-year-old died from electrocution in Louisiana, the governor said, and another person was killed in Biloxi, Mississippi. In Acworth, Georgia, a man was killed when a large oak tree was uprooted and fell through the corner of a mobile home, authorities said.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said electrical recovery work should be easier because the heaviest damage was to utility poles and other distribution lines, rather than the primary power transmission hubs.
Forecasters noted that the Category 2 storm made landfall in southeastern Louisiana with 110 mph winds that pushed seawater ashore. It later weakened to a Category 1, but heavy rains and tornadoes are possible across the Deep South.
Tropical storm warnings extend through north Georgia into the Carolinas.
Zeta was moving north with heavy rain expected to slam the mid-Atlantic along with gusty winds up to 50 mph in the Carolinas and Virginia on Thursday afternoon.
By Thursday evening, the heaviest rain will be hitting Philadelphia, New York City and southern New England, where residents should be on the lookout for flash flooding.
Further north, in upstate New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, as much as 4 inches of snow is possible by Friday morning.
A dusting of snow is possible in Connecticut and New York's Hudson Valley. New York City could even see some snowflakes mixed in with the rain.
Behind the storm, the Northeast will be hit by the coldest air of the season with wind chills possibly plunging to the 20s.