Zeta moves towards beach resorts on Mexico's Caribbean coast, and is expected to sweep over with strong winds and heavy rain before heading towards oil-producing areas of the southern US.

Clouds gather over Playa Gaviota Azul as Tropical Storm Zeta approaches Cancun, Mexico, early on Monday morning, October 26, 2020.
Clouds gather over Playa Gaviota Azul as Tropical Storm Zeta approaches Cancun, Mexico, early on Monday morning, October 26, 2020. (AP)

Mexican authorities have warned residents and tourists to shelter indoors as a hurricane barrels towards the Caribbean coast –– the second this month.

Zeta strengthened from a tropical storm into a Category 1 hurricane packing maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometres per hour, the US National Hurricane Center said on Monday.

At 1910 GMT, Zeta was located about 170 kilometers southeast of the Mexican resort island of Cozumel and could hit the Yucatan Peninsula on Monday night, the Miami-based NHC said.

In the resort city of Cancun, residents stocked up on groceries as well as wood and tape to cover their windows, while motorists lined up to buy gasoline.

READ MORE: Zeta gains strength near Cuba as historic hurricane season continues

Disruption in oil production 

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

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.

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

READ MORE: At-risk Caribbean scrambles to prepare for hurricanes during pandemic

Active hurricane season

On October 7, Hurricane Delta hit the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 2 storm, toppling trees and ripping down power lines, but without causing any deaths.

Thousands of tourists were forced to spend the night in emergency shelters along the Riviera Maya coastline.

Zeta is the 28th named storm of an unusually active Atlantic hurricane season.

In September, meteorologists were forced to use the Greek alphabet to name Atlantic storms for only the second time ever, after the 2020 hurricane season blew through their usual list, ending on Tropical Storm Wilfred.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies