Cancun, Riviera Maya, Q.R. –Damage from Hurricane Delta was felt mostly in the form of fallen trees, flooding and material as the hurricane entered the region during the early morning hours of Wednesday. When Delta finally arrived, it did so as a Category 2 hurricane and not the with predicted Category 4 force locals had braced for.
State Governor Carlos Joaquin published updates every few hours regarding storm changes as it approached. The region was told to brace for a possible three-day lockdown without open stores, power and limited city water. Thousands began their last minute shopping for house supplies, while others idled in long lines at gas and LP stations. Hardware stores had the longest lines with people rushing to buy boards to cover windows.
The arrival of Delta saw just over 39,000 people evacuated and placed into emergency shelters. The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) reported fallen trees onto power lines left an estimated 266,000 people without electricity. In many areas, the power went out shortly after Delta arrived. It was restored by 9:00 p.m. Wednesday for a majority of the region. CFE said they had 650 electrical workers deployed along with 113 cranes, 181 vehicles and one helicopter to keep up with Delta’s effects.
Governor Joqauin reported that there were some emergency reports of broken doors and windows for which people were relocated to emergency shelters, however, most reports were of fallen trees and flooded roads.
“The beginning of the counting of damage must now be done. We are going to be moving throughout the different affected municipalities to see the conditions in which we are, how we are and immediately start the cleaning and reconstruction processes,” he said in a Quintanarroense of Social Communication message.
After the passing of Hurricane Delta, mayors also toured their municipalities for damage. “Cozumel is back on its feet,” said Cozumel mayor Pedro Joaquín Delbouis after touring neighborhoods, streets and avenues.
“Fortunately, Cozumel suffered minor damages due to the passage of this hurricane, since at the last moment, it changed its trajectory. I am grateful for the invaluable work of the armed forces and municipal agencies for what they have done before, during and after the storm,” he said.
Puerto Morelos mayor Laura Fernández Piña also toured her municipality noting the Category 2 storm did not cause structural damage in Puerto Morelos, only damage to the electrical and road infrastructure along with the felling of around 200 large trees.
“We registered 15 percent of the roads obstructed by the fall of trees and the detachment of branches, so one of the first actions, after the storm began to move away from our territory, was to form work brigades with more than 100 people belonging to the municipal Secretariat of Public Safety and Traffic, Firefighters, Civil Protection and Public Services,” she explained.
The five affected municipalities, Benito Juárez (Cancun), Solidaridad (Playa del Carmen), Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, began clean up early Wednesday since the storm had moved away from the region by mid-day. Tourists were returned to their hotels and government officials out evaluating airport runways and federal highways to ensure a full reopening. All airports have reopened.
According to the Harbor Master’s Office, there were no marine incidents since navigation to all types of vessels was closed. The government has also reported no losses of human life due to the hurricane. A tally of regional damage is not yet known.