Storm Zeta bears down on Mexico's Yucatan coast, threatens U.S.

MEXICO CITY, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Tropical storm Zeta was poised to turn into a hurricane and pound Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula late on Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said, before moving on to the U.S. Gulf coast and threatening southern United States.

The storm is set to disrupt oil production and if it lashes southern U.S. states it could create fresh records for the number of hurricane landfalls that have taken place in the United States.

BP on Sunday said it has begun to evacuate four offshore U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil platforms and secure facilities after the Tropical storm Zeta sprang up in the Caribbean Sea.

In Mexico, there is a hurricane warning for the tourist resorts of Cozumel and Tulum, we all as their surrounding areas.

Zeta is expected to cause a “dangerous storm surge” and raise water levels by as much as 1-3 feet above normal tide levels when it hits the Yucatan Peninsula, NHC warned.

As well as lashing Mexico, Zeta is expected to bring heavy rainfall across portions of central and western Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, southern Florida and the Keys, NHC said.

Forecasting that Zeta would be at or just below hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, NHC said “there is an increasing risk of storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle”.

Zeta is about 275 miles (442.6 km) from the island of Cozumel in Mexico with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles (80.5 km) per hour, NHC added. (Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Michael Perry)