For Zeta, Yucatan hunkers down, shuts down businesses

'Ley seca' returns again as nonessential activities are canceled

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High winds are expected to affect most of Yucatan as Hurricane Zeta passes over the Peninsula. Graphic: Adapted from Yucatan state government map

After strengthening into a Category 1 hurricane, Zeta is bringing heavy rains and possible storm surges to regions drenched by Delta just three weeks earlier.

The storm entered Yucatan state around 1 a.m. Tuesday, the state Civil Protection Unit announced. The hurricane first battered the municipality of Chemax after crossing the state border with Quintana Roo, where widespread power outages and fallen trees and billboards were reported.

Nonessential businesses were ordered closed. And invoking the “ley seca” for at least the sixth time this year, the state government banned alcohol sales until further notice.

Yucatan heightened its civil alerts, putting eastern Yucatan into a red zone, indicating maximum danger, beginning 7:30 a.m. Merida and Progreso were elevated from yellow to orange alerts.

Zeta will be as close as 24 miles / 40 km from Merida, where strong winds and intense rains are anticipated roughly from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Storm surge warnings were issued from Tulum to Progreso.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts the storm weakening over land, downgrading to a tropical storm before reentering water at Dzilam de Bravo and again gaining force in the Gulf of Mexico on its way to the United States.

Hurricane warnings extend from Morgan City, La., to the Mississippi/Alabama border, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and metropolitan New Orleans.

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