MEXICO CITY: Tropical Storm Zeta pounded Mexico`s Yucatan Peninsula overnight with high winds and heavy rain, though reports suggested it had not done serious damage before it moved back to the sea and towards the U.S. Gulf Coast, authorities said on Tuesday. The peninsula is home to popular tourist resorts such as Cancun and Tulum, and Zeta descended on Mexico just weeks after Hurricane Delta battered the Yucatan region.
A hurricane on Monday, Zeta weakened to a tropical storm early on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. The storm is already disrupting U.S. oil installations, and is expected to become a hurricane again on Tuesday as it barrels toward the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Zeta did not cause loss of life or any other major disruptions in the state of Quintana Roo, the home of Cancun, and local airports and hospitals were operating normally, Governor Carlos Joaquin said on Twitter. The storm hit the northern coast of Quintana Roo with winds of 70 miles (113 km) per hour early on Tuesday, the NHC said.
Zeta is forecast to pass east of Mexican state oil company Pemex`s main concentration of offshore oil platforms, off the coast of Campeche and Tabasco states. Pemex`s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Zeta is expected to affect oil output in the Gulf Coast. Oil producer BP 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.