Zeta now a hurricane, heads for northern Gulf Coast

Zeta now a hurricane, heads for northern Gulf Coast

The hurricane was moving northwest at about 10 mph with its eye located about 90 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico.

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

A Tropical Storm Warning continues for Pinar del Rio Cuba, and for Mexico from south of Tulum to Punta Allen and from west of Dzilam to Progreso.

Right now, the latest forecast track for Zeta has the storm making landfall somewhere between Louisiana and the panhandle of Florida by late Wednesday night.

BP, Chevron and Equinor ASA evacuated platforms and halted production, spokespeople said, as Zeta steamed toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

In the US, storm surges of 1.21 metres to 1.82 metres are expected across parts of the Alabama and Louisiana coasts.

On Thursday, central Pennsylvania will get an unwelcome visit from the remains of Zeta mixed with another storm that brought snow to the Rockies.

Voluntary evacuations are underway for areas outside the New Orleans levee system while sandbags will be distributed to remaining residents on Tuesday.

However, Zeta could disrupt oil production, which prompted oil producer BP (British Petroleum) to begin shut-in production at its Gulf of Mexico platforms and assets ahead of Zeta's arrival, after initiating a staff evacuation Sunday.

"We must roll up our sleeves, like we always do, and prepare for a potential impact to Louisiana", said Edwards.

After Zeta moves through the Midlands, the forecast for the end of the week and weekend is dry and cool weather.

Heavy rain is likely with storm total rainfall amounts of three to six inches and localized totals up to eight inches possible where rain bands repeatedly move across the same areas. That may result in flash, urban, small-stream, and minor river flooding, according to the hurricane center.

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

Mobile County Commissioners, on Monday, authorized a local state of emergency in preparation for the storm.

2020 has already witnessed a highly active hurricane season, with 27 named storms making landfall so far, just one short of the 2005 record of 28.

"This is our first experience (in a hurricane) and the truth is we are a little afraid because we don't know what will happen, but here we are", said Márquez, who was visiting the resort from the north-central state of Queretaro. While hurricane season is nearly over, there's Zeta to worry about. It also lasted into 2006, only dissipating on January 6th.

Zeta became the 11th hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

With files from Reuters, CNN.

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