Hurricane Warning for NOLA 10/27 06:31
CANCUN, Mexico (AP) -- Storm-weary Louisiana is once again under a hurricane
warning, with Zeta leaving Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on a path that could hit
New Orleans Wednesday night.
Zeta, the 27th named storm in a very busy Atlantic season, made landfall as
a hurricane just north of the ancient Mayan city of Tulum with maximum
sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph). It weakened to a tropical storm as it
crossed over land, but it was expected to regain its strength over the Gulf of
Zeta's top winds were 70 mph (110 kmh) early Tuesday, centered about 560
miles (905 kmh) south of the mouth of the Mississippi River. If Zeta makes
landfall in Louisiana, it will be the fifth named storm to hit the state this
year, joining Cristobal, Laura, Marco and Delta.
Zeta was still drenching the northern Yucatan as its center moved over the
water. Quintana Roo state Gov. Carlos Joaqun warned that "nobody should be on
the streets ... you shouldn't go out anymore" until the storm passed.
In Playa del Carmen, between Tulum and Cancun, Mexican tourist Elsa Mrquez
held up her beach towel Monday so it flapped in the wind, rattling with the
strong gusts Monday a few hours before Zeta's arrival.
"This is our first experience (in a hurricane) and the truth is we are a
little afraid because we don't know what will happen, but here we are," said
Mrquez, who was visiting the resort from the north-central state of Queretaro.
Another tourist, Mario Ortiz Rosas from the western state of Michoacan,
looked at the rising waves, noting: "I didn't plan for this, but it looks like
it is going to get complicated."
Some boats that normally carry tourists in Cancun took refuge in a nearby
lagoon channel, anchored among the mangroves to avoid the battering wind, waves
and storm surge. Boat captain Francisco Sosa Rosado noted they had to perform
the same maneuver barely three week ago, when the area was hit by a stronger
Hurricane Delta, which made landfall with top winds of 110 mph (175 kph).
"With Delta, the gusts of wind were very strong ... the anchor lines were at
risk of breaking," Sosa Rosado said. "I hope it won't be as bad with this
Trees felled by Delta littered parts of Cancun, stacked along roadsides and
in parks and there was concern they could become projectiles when Zeta blew
through. A number of stoplights around the vacation destination remained
unrepaired since Delta.
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 Nov. 29, 2005. It's also the 11th hurricane of the season. An
average season sees six hurricanes and 12 named storms.
There have been so many storms this season that the hurricane center 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.
There was also a Tropical Storm Zeta in 2005, but that year had 28 storms
because meteorologists later went back and found they missed one, which then
became an "unnamed named storm."