Hurricane Ernesto has become the first hurricane of the 2012 season to hit land in Mexico just north of the Belize border. Travellers to the city of Tulum have been most affected and on 7 August approximately 6,000 tourists took shelter in hotels away from the beach, which acted as storm shelters.
Mexico is a popular British tourist destination, particularly in the coastal region. Evacuation of visitors and locals began in the state of Quintana Roo, where around 2,300 people were moved from Chetumal to the nearby coastal town of Tulum, several miles north. Authorities have also set up 35 shelters for those choosing to stay in the state capital. Belize has opened 21 emergency shelters to residents and those that have moved inland voluntarily from outlying islands.
Rain also hit the popular resort of Cancun, but caused little problems for tourists and locals alike, who were just advised to stay in their hotels or homes. Holidaymakers in Mexico should follow guidance from the local authorities.
Winds got up to 80 mph as the storm whipped across the country, with Chetumal, Cancun, Cozumel and Belize City all feeling the effects, before weakening slightly over the Yucatan Peninsula early on 8 August 2012. The U.S. National Hurricane Centre has predicted that Ernesto will continue to weaken as it crosses the Peninsula, and then strengthen again as it moves off shore into the Bay of Campeche. It is expected to then move back in land again as it continues its path west.
Fortunately for British holiday-goers, the storm is not forecast to affect the U.S.A and it is hoped that it will not cause too much damage as it crosses Mexico. As result, travellers planning to journey to Mexico in the coming days still can do so, but must check for updates.
Hurricane Ernesto is a category 1 hurricane, which is the lowest on the Saffir-Simpson scale but experts are concerned about the possibility of flash floods and mudslides as southern regions of Mexico and neighboring Belize are forecast between 4 and 12 inches of rain.
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The editorial team.