Hurricane Zeta menaces Mexico's Yucatan, sets course for U.S. Gulf Coast - NHC

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Hurricane Zeta is seen over the Caribbean
Hurricane Zeta is seen over the Caribbean

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Heavy winds pounded Mexico's Caribbean coast overnight, with Hurricane Zeta set to cause havoc on the Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday before moving towards the U.S. Gulf Coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Coming only weeks after Hurricane Delta ravaged the Yucatan region earlier this month, Zeta was expected to disrupt oil installations and barrel towards southern U.S. states on Wednesday.

Zeta lashed the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with winds of 80 miles (129 km) per hour late on Monday. Hurricane conditions and a dangerous storm surge were expected to persist in the area, NHC said.

"Heavy rainfall is expected across the Yucatan Peninsula, the Cayman Islands, and western Cuba through Tuesday, which could lead to flash flooding in urban areas," NHC warned.

A hurricane watch is in effect from Morgan City Louisiana to the Mississippi-Alabama border, NHC said.

Zeta is expected to affect oil production 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.

(Writing by Drazen Jorgic; editing by Richard Pullin)