Cancun, Q.R. – October 21 marks the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Wilma, still hailed as the worst hurricane to pass through the state of Quintana Roo.
After the hurricane passed, the World Meteorological Organization called it the hurricane of the century due to the extensive destruction Wilma left behind.
On October 15 2005, weather advisors warned of a large, complex area of low pressure forming over the Atlantic Ocean and eastern portion of the Caribbean Sea. Within 24-hours, the system intensified into a tropical depression. Wilma was given her name on October 17 and by the afternoon of October 18, Wilma had changed dramatically, being classified as a Category 5 hurricane.
For five days, Civil Protection officials were given instruction to prepare for the storm. Around 4:00 p.m. on October 21, local rescue units were told to assist in the protection of tourists by moving them from the Cancun Hotel Zone. However, before they were able to begin the relocation, Wilma merged.
Heavy rains arrived with strong winds that began tearing roofs from buildings. It didn’t take long before the daylight was blocked out, electricity was knocked out and trees began to fall, preventing passage on most arteries of the city. People were left to ride out the storm where they were, however, officials did their best to rescue people, reunite family members and removed trapped cars.
Through intense rains and increasing wind, local authorities took the necessary precautions to move people from their homes and decrease the loss of life. Thanks to their efforts, only one death was recorded in Benito Juarez.
Those who experienced Wilma said that for more than 65 hours they heard the sound of destruction. Wilma was originally predicted to last 28 hours.
Hurricane Wilma was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and was part of the record breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, which included three of the six most intense Atlantic hurricanes ever.