In Gulfport, the largest city on the Mississippi coast, residents were out on Thursday clearing debris-littering streets, picking up limbs and shingles and covering holes left in their homes. There was a sense of exhaustion, from a long night of riding out the storm and the labor from the recovery that was just beginning.
But there was also a measure of relief. “I’m sorry for the people who lost their lives,” said Tanya Morrison, who has lived in Gulfport for more than a dozen years, “but I think a lot of people were very, very lucky.”
Next door, Samantha Jenkins finally found some charcoal and got her barbecue pit going. The utility company told her it would be at least a few days before her electricity was restored, and she did not want the meat in her refrigerator and freezer to go to waste. Like many in Gulfport, her main point of reference was Katrina, the monster storm that devastated the Mississippi coast in 2005. This time, it was the howling gusts whipping through her neighborhood. Downed power lines nearly ignited a bush outside her house. The wind picked up her aboveground pool and slammed it against her house. She and her extended family had all crowded in a single room. “Ten people and a dog,” she said.
On Thursday morning, she joined her neighbors in surveying their block, checking on older residents and raking up debris. She was wading through the litany of discomfort and inconveniences that follow a storm: “Only store open,” she said. “You can imagine that — chaos.”
But she was back with her family on Thursday afternoon, the battering gusts replaced by a breeze made all the more pleasant by the smell of barbecue from her grill. The damage was largely superficial. Her family was safe.
“By the grace of God, nothing happened,” she said.
A weakening Zeta brings wind and rain to the Mid-Atlantic.
Zeta has been downgraded to a post-tropical storm, but the National Hurricane Center warned of gusty winds, rainfall and possible tornadoes as it moved across Virginia.
Damage in the Carolinas and Georgia included power outages, downed trees and some flooding. In Elkin, N.C., Robert Luffman, 40, an amateur photographer was out documenting the aftermath: flooded streams, parks and streets.