Zeta makes quick, destructive pass through the Southeast

Nov 2, 2020 | by Brad Rowland

Zeta makes quick, destructive pass through the Southeast

By: David Ibata

Hurricane Zeta tore through a storm-weary Gulf Coast, coming ashore the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 28, as a Category 2 hurricane in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, and weakening to a tropical storm as it hastened inland – still bringing destructive winds that downed trees and power lines across six states.

Zeta and its remnants killed at least six people and left more than 2.1 million customers without electricity throughout the Southeast. The Salvation Army worked closely with state and local emergency management officials to assess and meet needs.

Southern Territory Emergency Disaster Services reported that in its response to Zeta as of Monday morning, The Salvation Army in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia had served 9,434 meals, 2,955 drinks and 6,093 snacks. Seven mobile feeding units (canteens) were activated, and 14 disaster workers gave 820 hours of service.

About 1 million ALM Division households were without power immediately after the storm, and communities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Command were the most heavily impacted. Gulf Coast units served hot meals through the weekend from a mobile feeding unit (canteen) at the Gulfport, Mississippi, Family Store, and in Bay St. Louis. Feedings also took place in Pascagoula and Hattiesburg.

"We’re just trying to take care of those folks who are still without power and are still trying to put their houses and their lives back in order," Major Bradley Caldwell, Mississippi Gulf Coast area commander, told FoxNews/WXXV25 on Monday morning.

Asked what Salvation Army personnel had heard from residents, Major Caldwell said, “It’s quite surprising to see people who have had major devastation at home yet they can come with a smile and an expectation tomorrow is going to come and the day after that."

"They’re just thankful for somebody that’s there alongside them – not just the food itself, you can set that out and have it taken – but to make that connection, to hear people’s stories, just listening to them for a few minutes makes a lot of difference.”

The Pascagoula Corps provided hot meals to residents of a flooded community in St. Martin from the parking lot of a local community center.

"We are so blessed to be able to serve this community and provide not only a hot meal, but also comfort and hope during this trying time," said Lieutenant Carla Lawson, Pascagoula Corps officer. "Our community is strong and resilient. We will get through this together."

The Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama served food in Citronelle. Disaster relief services were being provided there and in Thomasville, Alabama; Hattiesburg; and Houma, Louisiana.

After rolling over the Gulf Coast, Zeta looped northeast and took a brief but destructive swipe early Thursday at Georgia – including the metro Atlanta area – before moving on to the Carolinas. Roughly 1 million electrical customers in Georgia and 225,000 households in North and South Carolina were without power at the height of the outages.

Georgia Division EDS rushed tarps, clean-up kits and storage bins to north Georgia communities affected by the storm. With many not expected to have their electricity restored until Sunday or Monday, The Salvation Army made plans to distribute food boxes in affected areas.

“We continue to work with emergency disaster directors, government officials, and officers from The Salvation Army across north Georgia to assess and focus on areas where the need is the greatest,” said Lanita Lloyd, Georgia EDS director.

Daphne Nabors and Donald Felice contributed to this story.

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