Last updated on February 5, 2020
Cancun, Riviera Maya, Q.R. — A cold front that was predicted to hit the area landed with force that saw trees felled and maritime ports suspended before finally moving off.
The storm, which effected the entire Yucatán Peninsula, landed Sunday afternoon with heavy rains and strong winds that knocked over trees and cut power several times. Cold Front No. 31 landed the Cancun, Playa del Carmen region Sunday afternoon with winds of nearly 70 km/h.
According to Civil Protection Solidaridad, the cold front, which lasted only about an hour-and-a-half, toppled six city poles and felled 23 trees, one of which caused a human injury. Other tree-toppled injures were suffered by vehicles and properties including the large tree that uprooted along Playa del Carmen’s popular Fifth Avenue as shoppers were taking cover from the rain.
Lucio Salvador Arguea, director of Municipal Civil Protection of Tulum reported only minimal material damages around Tulum. However, an exploding power line in Puerto Aventuras caused several boats, which were stored below the lines, to catch fire.
The severe weather conditions, which were due to the junction of cold fronts 30 and 31 on the Yucatan Peninsula, caused Operation Storm to be activated in Quintana Roo. Citizens were asked to stay home as Civil Protection directorates activated their protocol, says the general director of the State Coordination of Civil Protection, Adrián Martínez.
The strong winds caused some Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) cables to explode in several municipalities. Power failures were reported in some regions of Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras. In Holbox and Isla Mujeres, there were reports of power cuts as well as a temporary navigation closure that began at 4:00 p.m.
The port captain in Holbox, José Luis Ibarra Rojo, reported that the winds reached 40 knots, which is the equivalent to 70 kms/h, causing a temporary boat suspension.
From Cancun to Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Tulum, civil officers urged the public to stay inside. Due to the strong winds and heavy rain, 22 flights were diverted from the Cancun International Airport, making a safe landing at nearby airports in Belize and Mérida instead.
The death of one person has been reported by Governor Carlos Joaquín in the municipality of Bacalar due to an accident caused by strong winds.
The cold front hit other areas including Mérida and Progresso where the public services unit in Mérida announced the cancellation of an outdoor event due to the extreme weather.
In Progreso, the same cold front produced strong winds and heavy rains that also toppled trees, and in some instances, took out street lights.
Meteorologist Darwin Covarrubias said that this unusual cold front took less than 12 hours to travel through the Gulf of Mexico and when entering the warm zone of the Caribbean, created squalls that were not predicted.
He says that at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, the local temperature was 30 C degrees, however, when the storm hit, the temperature dropped to 17.8 C degrees and that at 5:45 p.m. they had recorded a low of 12.2 C degrees.
Darwin Covarrubias says that although the storm has left the region, the cool air will prevail over the next 48 hours.