The population of Quintana Roo is being asked to take precautions against the harsh rains and strong winds of Hurricane Ian. The severe tropical storm reached a category 3 level this morning and is currently moving in an easterly direction towards Cuba. Several tourist-frequented areas of Quintana Roo, such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen, are being impacted by heavy winds and rain. Tourists and locals are reminded that the hurricane will not make landfall in these locations but should look to local authorities for precautionary safety measures anyway.
The tropical storm developed into a hurricane on Monday morning, prompting state authorities to issue a weather alert for Cancun and the state of Quintana Roo. This was a ‘faze azule’ or blue alert, typically given when storms get close to the targeted region and preparations for safety need to be made. This alert is also designed to let tourists know that they are not in imminent danger but that they should exercise increased caution when moving around outside.
GIF Courtesy of: Zoom Earth
As of now, Ian is set to push humid air from the Caribbean Sea towards the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as generating heavy rain and strong gusts of wind that are affecting the ocean. Waves of two to three meters high have also been spotted along the coast of Quintana Roo. Therefore, it goes without saying that visiting the beach at this time is extremely unsafe.
Meteorologists are now worried that the storm could strengthen by the end of today: at 4 am this morning, the National Water Commission shared that Ian had increased to a category 3 level and is now reaching a category 4 level. This level of tropical storm typically has winds ranging between 130 and 156 mph, as well as severe rainfall. The high winds and poor weather conditions are enough to break telephone poles and uproot trees, causing road blockages and power outages.
Whilst none of these have yet been confirmed to occur in Cancun or its surrounding area, it is certainly a possibility if conditions worsen: A category 4 hurricane is only one step away from the strongest hurricane possible – a category 5. This has prompted some of Cancun’s inhabitants to worry, as the conditions of the storm are already quite severe. With a wind speed of 205km/h and gusts of up to 250km/h, this storm is shaping up to be one of the biggest to hit the Mexican-Caribbean in recent years.
Whilst a category 5 hurricane sounds severe, tourists can rest assured knowing that their hotels and resorts are well-equipped for the severe weather conditions that come with a tropical storm of this nature. These businesses have tropical storm protocols in place to ensure that everyone is kept safe, no matter the severity of the storm.
Those who were supposed to stay in Quintana Roo over the next few days do not necessarily have to cancel their trip. Whilst Cancun does not lie directly in the path of the hurricane, it will continue to experience harsh winds and rain for the rest of the week. Therefore, it may be wise to consider extending a trip to the region into next week, once the effects of the hurricane are set to clear.
At this time, tourists in Cancun, Holbox Island, and Riviera Maya have been told to keep an eye out for official warnings about the hurricane. Those worried about being affected by Ian are encouraged to listen to instructions given by the National Civil Protection System of the state of Quintana Roo. These authorities are responsible for issuing guidelines for dealing with the storm to ensure that everyone is kept as safe as possible.
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