Hurricane Zeta, the 27th named storm in a very busy Atlantic season, made landfall on the Caribbean coast of the eastern Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico late on Monday while lashing the resorts around Tulum with rain and wind.
he US National Hurricane Centre said Zeta came ashore just north of Tulum with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.
Quintana Roo state governor Carlos Joaquin had warned “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 US Gulf Coast and a likely landfall on Wednesday night.
A hurricane watch was posted from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama border.
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 on November 29, 2005. It is also the 11th hurricane of the season. An average season brings six hurricanes and 12 named storms.
There have been so many storms this season that the hurricane centre 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.