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World News

Zeta poised to hit Mexico's Caribbean coast late on Monday

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hurricane Zeta edged towards Mexico’s Caribbean coast late on Monday, with strong winds and heavy rain lashing the tourist region, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Zeta was blowing winds of some 80 miles per hour (129 kph) and was only about 25 miles (40 km) from the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, home to famed holiday getaways such as Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen, NHC said.

A Category 1 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, Zeta was expected to reach land late on Monday in Yucatan before plowing across the peninsula, which is still recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Delta earlier this month.

A hurricane warning is in effect in several areas across the Yucatan, the Miami-based NHC said.

Zeta is expected dump heavy rain across the Yucatan, the Cayman Islands, and parts of Cuba on Tuesday, possibly triggering flash floods in urban areas.

The hurricane is expected to reach the U.S. Gulf coast by Wednesday, where it could disrupt oil production.

Oil producer BP BP.L 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.

The company said its four mobile offshore drilling units are also in the process of securing their wells to safely weather the storm.

Writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Sandra Maler; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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