Saturday, July 20, 2024

Storms over Yucatán Peninsula bring flooding, power outages to Mérida

Several neighborhoods in Mérida were underwater on Tuesday after intense storms battered the northern part of the Yucatán Peninsula for two days, causing severe flooding in the capital.

The storms, starting on Sunday, knocked out electricity in parts of Mérida, but the accumulation of rain was proving to be the bigger problem on Tuesday.

Municipal officials are assessing drainage systems and providing relief services to victims of the intense flooding, particularly in the historic center, where water high water levels have forced commuters to find alternate routes.

Many left their cars and splashed home on foot through the flooded streets. Just north of the historic center, several commuters, unable to cross the Itzimná borough, abandoned their stalled cars.

José Collado Soberanis, director of Mérida’s Municipal Public Services, said teams were unclogging drains, drilling wells to help water flow and cleaning up the muddy mess. Special attention was being given to areas around hospitals, schools and shelters in order to ensure roads were passable, he said.

Municipal Public Services also was delivering 78 water tankers to residents after the loss of electricity shut down Mérida’s water distribution system on Sunday.

Outside the capital, about 15 kilometers to the northeast, the municipality of Conkal was inundated by 238 millimeters of rainwater.

Today’s forecast will not bring any relief: cloudy skies over the Yucatán Peninsula are predicted to bring more intense storms through Wednesday morning in the states of Campeche, and Yucatán. The state of Quintana Roo, on the eastern side of the peninsula, is expecting scattered storms.

The inclement weather forecast is due to the arrival of Tropical Storm No. 4 over southern Campeche, which is coming into contact with a band of low pressure over the Yucatán Peninsula. 

Intense storms
In the municipality of Caucel, just west of Mérida, intense storms and flooding brought down a tree in the Sante Fe neighborhood, Monday night, forcing authorities to close parts of 17D street for hours. (SSP Yucatan/Twitter)

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued an advisory on Tuesday morning that another storm with the potential to cause more intense flooding in the region, called a tropical wave, is approaching the Gulf of Mexico. As of midday Tuesday, the wave — currently located in the southeastern Caribbean — was headed west at 25 mph and bringing heavy rain and electrical storms.

There is a low chance that the tropical wave will reach the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this weekend.

With reports from Diario de Yucatán, Península de Yucatán and La Jornada

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