Storm Zeta nears Mexico's coast, threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical storm Zeta is expected to hit Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with dangerous storm surge and hurricane conditions late on Monday before barrelling toward the U.S. Gulf coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The storm brewing off Mexico's coast has maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (113 km per hour) and is about 140 miles (230 km) from the island of Cozumel, where a hurricane warning is in effect, according to the NHC.

The warning also applies to nearby areas along the Yucatan peninsula, including beach tourism hotspot Tulum.

Zeta is expected dump heavy rainfall across the Yucatan, the Cayman Islands, and parts of Cuba on Tuesday, triggering possible flash flooding in urban areas.

The tropical storm is then expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it nears the U.S. Gulf coast on Wednesday, where it could disrupt oil production.

Oil producer BP <BP.L> on Monday said it has begun to shut-in production at its Gulf of Mexico platforms and assets ahead of Zeta's arrival, after starting a staff evacuation on Sunday.

It added that its four mobile offshore drilling units are also in process of securing their wells to safely evade the storm.

(Writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

10/26/2020 17:49

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