After a tense night spent waiting for a Category 4 hurricane to arrive, residents of the Yucatán Peninsula saw relatively minor damage from Hurricane Delta, which made landfall as a Category 2 cyclone near Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. No deaths or injuries were reported.
Delta struck with sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour, but the torrential rains that had been predicted did not materialize, and although some flooding occurred, the area began the day disheveled but not destroyed.
Tourists in Cancún’s hotel zone were evacuated to shelters, and the area saw downed trees but nothing that impeded the flow of traffic.
In Punta Cancún, the heart of the tourist area, facades of some restaurants, bars and nightclubs suffered superficial damage, and residents helped clear the streets of toppled trees and branches. More than 1,000 trees fell throughout the region during the storm.
Yesterday, the biggest problem the area had was the lack of electricity. According to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), some 260,000 users in Cancún — 35% of the total — were left without electricity. Telephone and internet services were also interrupted.
In Puerto Morelos, residents spent a sleepless night waiting for the storm to hit and listened to the wail of the wind as Delta moved onshore. Residents who looked out their doors around 6:30 a.m. as the eye was passing overhead saw mild damage, nothing like what was seen during Hurricane Wilma in 2005 in which eight people died and 98% of hotels were damaged or destroyed.
For some residents of northeast Yucatán who remember Wilma and Gilberto before her, Delta simply did not impress. “I have seen the other hurricanes and today’s hurricane was not so strong,” said María Dolores, a 50-year-old resident of Tizimín. “Yes there was wind, but not enough. It toppled a few trees.”
Yucatán Governor Mauricio Vila concurred as he toured Tizimín, Panabá, Río Lagartos, and San Felipe, municipalities in which the hurricane had a direct impact. “Things are better than we imagined,” he noted.
Hurricane Delta is expected to become a major hurricane once again Thursday night as it heads toward the U.S. Gulf Coast where it is expected to make landfall in Louisiana on Friday afternoon.