Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Yucatan Peninsula

Satellite image showing Tropical Storm Zeta

2020's Zeta not only ties the current season with 2005 for the most number of named storms, it may also be a stepping stone into uncharted territory. The system was centred about 285 kilometres (175 miles) southeast of Cozumel island on Monday morning, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Zeta, the 27th named storm of the season, is expected strengthen over the next 24 hours leading up to landfall in the U.S. Wednesday evening. Zeta was expected to move over the Yucatan Peninsula late Monday before heading into the Gulf of Mexico, where it would approach the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday, forecasters said, though it could weaken by then.

This year's wetter-than-average storms have also been moving slower, concentrating rainfall in a smaller area, much to the torment of the beleaguered Gulf States in the southern US.

Zeta should turn toward the north tonight, and a faster northward to north-northeastward motion is expected on Wednesday.

Tropical storm Zeta strengthened to a hurricane on Monday afternoon as it continued on a track for Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula resorts and was forecast to possibly make USA landfall in the central Gulf Coast by midweek. There is concern they could become projectiles when Zeta scrapes across the peninsula.

Energy producers shut 16%, or 293,656 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and 6% of natural gas output, or 162.57 million cubic feet per day, according to data from the USA offshore energy regulator. It had maximum sustained winds of around 128 km/h.

BHP Group Ltd also withdrew staff from its U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore facilities, and Royal Dutch Shell paused drilling and limited staff movement to its platforms.

Zeta likely a hurricane before hitting Yucatan, heading for US
Tropical storm Zeta strengthens into hurricane as it heads for Mexico

It has been a challenging year for Gulf of Mexico oil and gas producers, with companies withdrawing workers and halting output at least six times as storms churned through.

A hurricane watch was posted from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Satellite image showing Tropical Storm Zeta [NOAA/NESDIS/STAR via AP] Officials in Quintana Roo state and those at Cancun and other resorts said they were watching the storm.

"We stand ready to expand that assistance as needed", Edwards said in a statement.

Zeta is only the second named storm in history to take on that moniker.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre will be closely monitoring Zeta's track over the next few days. "It could go further south which would mean even less impact, or it might track a little bit further north which would give us more windy conditions or possibly more precipitation from this".


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