Zeta likely to become hurricane before hitting Mexico, heading for US
MIAMI (AP) — A strengthening Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to become a hurricane Monday as it heads toward the eastern end of Mexico’s resort-dotted Yucatan Peninsula and then likely move on for a possible landfall on the central US Gulf Coast at midweek.
Zeta on Sunday became the earliest ever 27th named storm of the Atlantic season.
The system was centred about 175 miles southeast of Cozumel island Monday morning, the US National Hurricane Center said.
It had maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.
The storm was moving northwest at around nine miles per hour after being nearly stationary over the weekend.
Forecasters said Zeta was expected to move over the Yucatan Peninsula later Monday before heading into the Gulf of Mexico and then approaching the US Gulf Coast by Wednesday, though it could weaken by then.
Officials in Quintana Roo state, the location of Cancun and other resorts, said they were watching the storm.
They reported nearly 60,000 tourists in the state as of midweek.
The state government said 71 shelters were being readied for tourists or residents who might need them.
The hurricane center said Zeta could bring four to eight inches of rain to Mexico, the Cayman Islands and parts of Cuba, before drenching the central US Gulf Coast.
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