Hurricane Delta is advancing with sustained winds of 165 kilometers over the east coast of Mexico, according to the latest report from the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC, for its acronym in English). The cyclone is 35 kilometers south of Cancun, and the Mexican authorities expect that its passage through the Yucatan Peninsula will end at noon this Wednesday. “It will cause rains that will go from intense to torrential, it will cause strong winds with gusts of 150 to 240 kilometers per hour and waves of five to nine meters in height,” reported the National Meteorological Service of Mexico in its most recent bulletin.
Delta, which went from being a tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea to one of the most powerful cyclones to reach the Mexican east coast in 15 years, made landfall as a category 2 hurricane. According to this name, it responds to a scale of Up to five levels, the phenomenon can cause storm surges of up to eight feet, considerable damage to vegetation and power lines, and partial destruction of roofs, doors and windows, but with little damage to structures and buildings.
The latest report from the National Hurricane Center warns that “weather conditions are deteriorating rapidly on the northeast coast of the Yucatan peninsula with a potentially deadly storm surge.” Since Tuesday, the authorities of the states of Quintana Roo and Yucatán have issued various alerts for the population to seek shelter, and have set up hundreds of shelters throughout the coastal cities of the peninsula.
39,290 people have been evacuated throughout the peninsula and as of this Wednesday morning, no deaths have been reported, as reported by the Ministry of Civil Protection. The authorities of Quintana Roo have reported the transfer of tourists due to the impact of the hurricane, of which 85% are Mexican and the rest foreigners, especially Americans, according to an AFP report. “We were at 35% of our capacity. To prevent the spread of covid-19, the same measures have been taken in the shelters as in hotels, such as the use of gel, face masks ”, said Roberto Cintrón, president of the Cancun Hotel Association, one of the main tourist destinations of the Mexican Caribbean.
The hurricane has the authorities of Mexico in suspense. During the morning presidential conference on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Secretary of the Navy announced a backup operation with 10,600 troops to carry out “support work” against the cyclone. “People who are experiencing the eye of the hurricane will experience a certain calm, as if apparently everything has already happened, but they cannot be trusted. We ask citizens to be aware of official information ”, said the uniformed man. According to calculations by the Mexican Navy, the eye of the hurricane will cross the Yucatan Peninsula in the morning and return to the coast before noon this Wednesday, to continue its passage through the Gulf of Mexico to the north.
The governor of the State of Quintana Roo, Carlos Joaquín González, issued the red alert in the northern part of the territory and announced the start of the evacuation in the hotel areas of Puerto Morelos, Cancun and on the island of Holbox from noon on Tuesday. “The entire state will suffer the consequences of the storm,” González said during a press conference, in which he also announced that he hopes the hurricane will have finished its passage through the state on Wednesday afternoon.
Both Yucatán and Quintana Roo experience the arrival of Delta after spending the weekend under the lash of tropical storm Gamma, which left at least six people dead and some 600,000 affected by floods throughout southern Mexico. The rains forced more than 3,000 people to leave their homes in the states of Veracruz, Chiapas and Tabasco, according to the Mexican Ministry of the Interior.
Delta is the 10th tropical cyclone of the year in an unusually active hurricane season in the Atlantic. Its arrival in Mexico marks a new record compared to the nine that did so in 2016. According to NHC monitoring, the hurricane would reach the southern United States between Thursday night and Friday morning, at a still undetermined point of the States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama.