Hurricane Zeta, the 27th named storm in a very busy Atlantic season, made landfall on the Caribbean coast of the eastern Yucatan Peninsula late Monday while whipping the resorts around Tulum with rain and wind.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Zeta came ashore just north of Tulum with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph).
Quintana Roo state Gov. Carlos Joaquín had warned that “nobody should be on the streets … you shouldn’t go out anymore” until the hurricane passed.
Zeta was predicted to lose some power while crossing the peninsula, before regaining hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday while heading for the central U.S. Gulf Coast and a likely landfall Wednesday night. A hurricane watch was posted from Morgan City, La., to the Mississippi-Alabama state line.
Some boats that normally carry tourists in Cancun took refuge in a nearby lagoon channel, anchored among the mangroves to avoid the battering wind, waves and storm surge.
Trees felled by Delta littered parts of Cancun, stacked along roadsides and in parks and there was concern they could become projectiles when Zeta blew through. A number of stoplights around the vacation destination remained unrepaired since Delta.
Quintana Roo state officials reported nearly 60,000 tourists in the state as of midweek. They said 71 shelters were readied for tourists or residents who might need them, though the governor said he hoped it would not be necessary to move guests out of their hotels.
Zeta broke the record for the previous earliest 27th Atlantic named storm that formed Nov. 29, 2005. It’s also the 11th hurricane of the season. An average season sees six hurricanes and 12 named storms.
There have been so many storms this season that the hurricane center had to turn to the Greek alphabet after running out of assigned names.
Zeta is the furthest into the Greek alphabet the Atlantic season has gone. There was also a Tropical Storm Zeta in 2005, but that year had 28 storms because meteorologists later went back and found they missed one, which then became an “unnamed named storm.”
[Sourced from Agencies]