US death toll from Hurricane Zeta rises to six, millions without power

SANDY HUFFAKER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

At least six people were killed in the United States and more than two million people were without power on Thursday after Hurricane Zeta slammed into the Gulf Coast and moved northeast.

Zeta spun up in the Caribbean Sea and went from a tropical storm to a damaging, Category 2 hurricane in less than four days. It struck Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and raced across the Gulf of Mexico to hit the US coast late on Wednesday.

It is the fifth named storm to strike Louisiana this year and the 27th named storm this season, one less than the record set in 2005.

Hurricanes are getting stronger and spinning slower, as they pick up energy from heat in the oceans due to climate change.

The eight named storms that have entered the Gulf of Mexico since June have caused repeated offshore evacuations and cut millions of barrels of US oil and gas output.

Crews began returning to Gulf of Mexico offshore facilities on Thursday. Chevron Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc said they were redeploying personnel and ramping up and restoring production at their platforms.

The hurricane Zeta cut 4 million barrels over four days this week, halting up to 85 per cent of daily offshore Gulf of Mexico oil production and nearly 58 per cent of its natural gas output. 

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