MEXICO CITY—Mexico began evacuating residents and tourists in and around the Caribbean resort of Cancún ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane
which strengthened rapidly Tuesday as it moved toward the Yucatán Peninsula.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center upgraded Delta to a Category 4 storm at 11:20 a.m. ET, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles an hour. The storm was located 315 miles from the island of Cozumel, advancing at 16 mph.
Authorities in Quintana Roo state began moving residents and tourists from vulnerable areas into shelters, and state Gov. Carlos Joaquín urged people to buy drinking water and canned foods that don’t need refrigeration, given expectations that electric power will be lost.
He said nonessential activities and businesses should close at 1 p.m. local time, and all businesses by 5 p.m.
“People who feel their homes aren’t safe enough to resist should move into the shelters that are already set up in the north of the state to avoid accidents and loss of human life,” he said.
The hurricane is expected to make landfall in the early hours of Wednesday, he added.
Local media reported long lines at supermarkets, convenience stores and gasoline stations in Cancún early Tuesday to buy supplies before the storm hits.
The hurricane comes as tourist spots in the region are slowly recovering from the shutdowns earlier this year over the coronavirus crisis, which virtually emptied the resorts of visitors.
The Cancún Hotels Association recently reported hotel occupancy rates around 32%.
Previous major hurricanes to hit Cancún, Mexico’s principal destination for foreign tourists, were Wilma in October 2005 and Gilberto in September 1988.
The National Hurricane Center forecast that Hurricane Delta would move into the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and reach the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi with storm surges and hurricane-force winds on Friday.
Write to Anthony Harrup at [email protected]
Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8