The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Tales from the Trail
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Our best photos from the last 24 hours. See more
Images of July
Exclusive: Regulators irate at NY action against StanChart
Is there an "obesity paradox" in diabetes?
07 Aug 2012
Insight: Syria rebels see future fight with foreign radicals
Mars rover Curiosity sends home first color photo
07 Aug 2012
Ex-girlfriend of Wisconsin gunman arrested on weapon charge
Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret U.S. support for Syrian rebels
Obama urges ”soul searching” on ways to reduce gun violence
Union leader strives to ease Obama’s ”white guy problem”
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Highlights from the London Olympics. Slideshow
A look back at last year's shooting rampage that killed six people in Tucson, Arizona. Slideshow
Hurricane Ernesto lands on Mexican coast
Ernesto becomes a hurricane before landfall in Mexico
Tue, Aug 7 2012
Oil at 12-wk high on North Sea output drop, stimulus hope
Tue, Aug 7 2012
UPDATE 10-Oil at 12-wk high on N.Sea output drop, stimulus hope
Tue, Aug 7 2012
Ernesto becomes a hurricane in western Caribbean
Tue, Aug 7 2012
Ernesto likely to reach hurricane strength, hit Mexico's Yucatan
Tue, Aug 7 2012
Analysis & Opinion
Electricity comes to an impoverished Mozambican island
Natural Disasters »
1 of 4. The beach front of Mahahual is seen as Hurricane Ernesto approaches the southern part of the Yucatan peninsula August 7, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Victor Ruiz
By David Alire Garcia
CHETUMAL, Mexico |
Wed Aug 8, 2012 2:10am EDT
CHETUMAL, Mexico (Reuters) - Hurricane Ernesto slowed slightly as it crashed into Mexico's Yucatan peninsula on Tuesday, flooding streets in the port city of Chetumal and sending thousands of residents and tourists into shelters.
Ernesto had top sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (140 km per hour) as it landed on the Mexican coast near the town of Mahahual, about 20 miles north of Chetumal, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 2:00 a.m. EDT (0600 GMT) advisory.
Civil Protection officials in the state of Quintana Roo said about 2,300 people were evacuated from Chetumal up the coast to Tulum.
This southern part of the state is known for its scuba diving and eco-tourism attractions.
Rain was also pouring down further north on the resort of Cancun, although people stayed in their homes and hotels there.
Ernesto is a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.
In Chetumal, the state capital of Quintana Roo, authorities set up 35 shelters, which were filled with a mix of tourists and residents.
Patricia Footit, a Canadian tourist who was evacuated from her Mahaual beach-front hotel Tuesday afternoon, said she was enjoying the experience.
"I'm absolutely fine. This is an adventure," said Footit, sitting on a mat on the floor reading a book to pass the time.
"I was just on the beach chilling out when the loudspeaker said we had to evacuate."
Chetumal's working class neighborhood of Lazaro Cardenas was flooded with water, but many residents said they preferred to stay in their cinder block and wood homes.
"This is normal. It is not the first time that a hurricane has come through here," said Carmen Salis, 19, standing outside her house.
Ernesto is forecast to push across Yucatan and reemerge Wednesday in the southern Gulf of Mexico, where state oil company Pemex has port facilities and offshore platforms.
Pemex said in a news release that it was canceling some training exercises at oil rigs, but all installations were functioning normally.
Carlos Morales, director of Pemex Production and Exploration, told Reuters that oil production has not been affected at all by the hurricane.
Residents, shop keepers and government workers boarded up houses and businesses along the coast.
"These are just precautionary measures," said worker Francisco Velazquez, who led a group of five men wearing raincoats and wielding hammers and nails as they boarded windows at a government office in Chetumal.
CANCUN NOT HIT
While the eye of Ernesto did not hit the region's major resort of Cancun, some rain fell in the area, which is packed with local and international visitors this time of the year.
Tourism officials said they were not evacuating any of Cancun's tourist area, but hotel staff advised guests to stay in their rooms in the evening.
Hotel staff had also removed deck chairs, tables and other potential projectiles from the beaches.
Authorities also declared alcohol bans in the towns of Tulum and Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Chetumal airport was closed to all flights from mid-afternoon.
Cancun, some 230 miles to the north of the storm's forecast path, was devastated in 2005 by Hurricane Wilma, the most intense storm ever recorded in the Atlantic.
Hurricane warnings were extended northwards to the resort island of Cozumel from Chetumal and include the entire coast of low-lying Belize. A tropical storm warning remained in effect for the Atlantic coasts of Honduras and Nicaragua.
One cruise ship that was due to dock at Cozumel on Wednesday canceled its visit and another was diverted to Veracruz, in the Gulf of Mexico.
Heavy rain hit northern Honduras early Tuesday but there were no reports of damage.
Rainfall of 4 to 8 inches, and possibly 12 inches in some areas, was expected over Belize and the southern portions of the Yucatan peninsula.
Belize's government said 175 residents of outlying islands had voluntarily moved to safer ground, and 21 emergency shelters had opened to house evacuees.
August and September are usually the most active months of the Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
(Additional reporting by Isela Serrano in Cancun, Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa, Mike McDonald in Guatemala City and Cyntia Barrera in Mexico City; Writing by Ioan Grillo, Editing by Krista Hughes, Eric Walsh, Jackie Frank and Lisa Shumaker)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.