(Hurricane Ida Moves Past the Yucatan Peninsula; Courtesy of the NOAA)
In one of those better safe than sorry episodes from Mother Nature, the Mexican Government sounded alerts up and down the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula for Hurricane Ida, the only issue was, the fickle lady hurricane failed to show up for the Hurricane Party. Hell, there was likely more hurricane action at Pat O’Briens and the Hard Rock Cafe mixing hurricanes than Lady Ida provided. Not that anyone should be complaining, in reality, hurricanes are obviously serious business and anyone who saw what Hurricane Wilma did to Cancun in October of 2005 is darn glad that the authorities are keeping a steady and safe approach to these situations.
(Photo By Cancun Casa)
So, as it is, Hurricane Ida, now a category II hurricane kept to the fast track like a kayak shooting the rapids, heading past Cancun and the Riviera Maya at close to a 17 MPH clip before crossing the Yucatan Straits into the Yucatan Channel and heading off to the Gulf of Mexico where she’s preparing to be somebody elses major headache in a couple of days.
Weather reports out of Cancun International Airport indicate that as of 6:00 PM EST, the winds are calm, skies overcast with towering (now there’s a strange description from the NHC) cumulus clouds observed and temperatures around 77F (25C).
(Cancun Beaches Looking North to Punta Cancun;Courtesy of Por Esto)
Regional newspaper Diario de Yucatan
, is reporting in their online edition that the Mayor of Cancun is considering lifting the Civil Protection warnings for the City of Cancun at 8:00 PM Cancun time. Further reports from the press indicate that minimal damage has occurred in Cancun, primarily minor flooding in certain areas and a major hit to Cancun’s beaches, including the area recently under beach restoration. In Progreso, Yucatan, North of Cancun in the sister State of the Yucatan, reports indicate that beaches there have also taken a major blow from the storms surge. However, overall as of this time, it would appear that Cancun and the rest of the Mexican Caribbean has been spared the wrath of Hurricane Ida in a situation that could have been much worse had the original tracking projections from the major forecasters come to fruition late last week.
For now, sound the all clear for Cancun, Mexico and go ahead and enjoy those vacations, Cancun awaits.
( By Cancun Casa)
As an added note, we suggest you hyperlink on over to Cancun blogger extraordinaire CancunCanuck’s Blog and view some superb first hand photography and video, along with her commentary on Hurricane Ida, including some wonderful shots of the Cancun surf today under siege from the storm surge of Ida. A Canuck in Cancun
Hurricane Ida Continues to Strengthen, Nears Category II Status
, Threatens Yucatan
(Courtesy of Weatherunderground & the NHC)
What a big difference 24 hours can make in the path of a tropical storm, not so long ago, on Friday, forecasters and model projections were issuing storm paths that had folks along the Mexican Caribbean Coastal areas, especially in Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and Playa Del Carmen more than a bit concerned over the direct path of now, Category I, Hurricane Ida. However, since breaking free from a landfall in first Nicaragua and then neighboring Honduras before regenerating in the Western Caribbean, the storm is now expected to follow the path of the Western Caribbean Hurricane Alley and make a slightly indirect path for the Straits of the Yucatan, a stretch of water separating the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula and the western edge of the island nation of Cuba, and south to north, the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Ida presently is a low level category hurricane with one minute sustained wind speeds of 75 MPH. * As of early Sunday morning Hurricane Ida had increased in strength with sustained winds in excess of 90 MPH and moved in direction to the Northwest becoming perilously close to Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Puerto Morelos in Northern Quintana Roo. As of this update, the storm is expected to remain offshore but has to be considered to close to call at this point as to whether there will be an eye-wall landfall in Northern Quintana Roo or in the neighboring Mexican State of the Yucatan.Cancun and surrounding areas are now on an official Orange Level Warning status for the storm indicating a high hazard approach is expected within 24 hours. Cancun is expected to experience tropical storm strength winds, potentially hurricane strength winds, storm surges of four feet and heavy rain under the current status.
The good news is that it appears the Mexican Caribbean Coast, including Cancun will likely be spared a direct hit from the storm as she moves past the coast at a not so comfortable maritime distance of approximately 50 or so miles out at sea. Hurricane Ida has picked up speed and strength since entering the Caribbean, with it gathering hurricane strength, and has outward bands that will still lash at the beaches and coast of Quintana Roo with high winds, heavy rain and heavy surf according to forecasters. But, that is a far better proposal than the earlier predictions. As such, with her increased speed, Hurricane Ida is expected to be offshore of Cancun sometime early Sunday morning and be totally clear of the Yucatan by Monday morning if the forecasting models hold up. U.S Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters have been sent out to monitor the storms current status, reporting results via the NHC in the very near future.
In what amounts to a caveat of sorts, we would point out that Ida is moving quickly and has changed direction to a North-Northwest as of this writing and while the signs are good that the storm will cause only minor issues at this point, monitoring of the storm is still recommended until the proverbial all clear is sounded. The distance between Cancun and Cuba is minimal when discussing maritime situations and a slight degree or so change for the worse could bring Hurricane Ida ontop of Cancun and Isla Mujeres. Presuming the storm holds the NHC track, come Monday, all the news may not be good as flooding is already occurring in coastal areas, including downtown Cancun, along with the erosion of beach areas, especially those currently under restoration. And, as in most of these situations, one areas potential good news may be another areas bad news when Ida breaks free into the Gulf of Mexico.
Right now it’s prepare for the worst and hope for the best, but if the weather forecast and path projections hold up over the next 36 hours, Cancun, Riviera Maya and the rest of Mexican Caribbean will have been spared any major damage for the most part, relatively speaking.
For travelers to the area, we still recommend the monitoring of the storm and warn that some travelers may experience flight delays both from incoming or outgoing flights. Check with your airline and airport for potential delays and/ or cancellations should they occur. Currently, as it stands, while it may be a bit damp over the next couple of days, vacationing in Cancun is likely better wet than vacationing at home.
Good Luck, Good Night and Stay Safe…and keep monitoring NHC:Tropical Storms
It ain’t over till it’s over…
Tropical Storm Ida, Courtesy of the NOAA
Updated: Saturday, November 7, 2009*
In what had become one of the calmest hurricane seasons in recent memory for the Western Caribbean, a late coming storm, Tropical Storm Ida is making waves and threatening the relative calm of the Caribbean Sea. At this point in time, Stormbringer Ida has appeared to have cleared the coast of Honduras and is starting to once again strengthen and reform itself as it moves slowly out into the Western Caribbean, southeast of the Mexican Caribbean and Belize. TS Ida is expected to remain a tropical storm according to most meteorological reports, failing to reach the level of hurricane intensity by the time the storm reaches the Mexican coast but warm water, the gasoline of all tropical storms, is prevalent in the Caribbean this early November, and there is a chance the storm fueled by warmer waters may reach low level hurricane strength by the time it reaches the Mexican Yucatan, projected right now for sometime Sunday afternoon.
*Officially as of 10 AM EST Saturday, the government of Mexico has issued a hurricane watch for Tropical Storm Ida. The latest Advisories from the NHC are available at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT1+shtml/071452.shtml
* Tropical Storm Ida is now projected by the NHC to reach low category hurricane status (Category I ) sometime within the next 24 hours, she is not expected at this time to sustain wind speed above Cat I prior to reaching the Gulf of Mexico.
Stormtracker Map, Courtesy of Weatherunderground
Currently, the Civil Protection Agency of Mexico has issued a weather bulletin announcing a “Green Alert”* (See Update Below)
in their color coded warning system for the Mexican Caribbean. The Green Alert symbolizes potential tropical weather activity is expected within 48-72 hours and is a low warning level alert that asks people to monitor the storm and to be prepared to seek shelters if necessary. Maritime interests in the area are under advisement to seek safe harbor as the storm approaches and the large Sand Dredger Kaishuu, along with other vessels involved with the Cancun Beach Restoration Project are anticipating making safe harbor offshore of Cancun at Isla Mujeres when the time comes though as of today, work continued on the project even as Tropical Storm Ida beckoned from a distance.
* As of midday Saturday, the Quintana Roo State Civil Protection Director has issued a Yellow Alert indicating a tropical storm approach is imminent (36-28 hours) and preparation should be finalized. (Based on current reports the storm could actually now be within 24 hours of approach due to advance speed since last reports and it would not surprise us to see the Alert level advance to the Orange status in the very near future.)
* Reports on Saturday indicate that the Kaishiuu and her two barges will likely attempt to make port at Progreso, Yucatan due to the inability of the harbors on Isla Mujeres to accommodate the ship and her sister barges. As of Saturday, the beach restoration work in Cancun has been suspended due to the impending storm and likely will not restart for the better part of week.*
Here at Cancun Casa
, we advise travelers and locals alike to monitor the major weather reporting agencies, particularly the National Hurricane Center or NHC:Tropical Storms
. We would also appreciate folks noting that Tropical Storm Ida while briefly a Category One Hurricane, is fluctuating between a tropical depression and tropical storm currently, and is not
expected to reach major hurricane strength while in the Mexican Caribbean based on current reports. However, please do continue to monitor the storm and keep abreast of the latest news. Common sense would dictate that people traveling allow time for potential delays at airports and other venues.
Based on current reports from the NHC and other agencies, Tropical Storm Ida is expected to be a heavy rainmaker with high wind gusts that will help churn up the local surf and shut down most small boating craft for a period of a few days or so, damage to beach areas may be expected along with dangerous water conditions. Authorities in Quintana Roo, the home state of Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel are expected to elevate the current Green Alert status to a Yellow Alert sometime Saturday to indicate the storms further approach. The Q. R. State Civil Protection Director, in a report from regional newspaper, Diario de Yucatan
, is stating that he anticipates Tropical Storm Ida to bring rain to the region from late Saturday through and including Wednesday of next week with the heaviest of the rainfall expected between late Sunday and Tuesday. Mexican Authorities are also opening their new Tourist Positioning System to foreign embassies and major travel agencies to allow, presumably, the quick location of foreign nationals, if necessary, visiting Cancun and other major tourist areas along the Riviera Maya during the course of the storm. Hotel occupancy in the area is approximately 40% in the current low season.
*As of Saturday morning, officials in Cancun are reporting that tourist reservations are being maintained as scheduled and that occupancy is expected to increase to between 48-50% over the weekend. The Cancun International Airport reports no cancellations of flights though expects potential delays due the heavy rains expected from the storm. As per Por Esto News in Cancun, 28,000 to 30,000 tourists are expected to be vacationing in Cancun during the course of the storm. As of this update, officials in Cancun expect the effects of the storm to be minimal in Cancun and along coastal Quintana Roo’s developed Riviera Maya area, including the Islas, based on the most current information available from official weather reporting government agencies, and do not foresee the cessation of major tourist operations (Hotel, Airport,Businesses). They do however urge through the official alerting system that all people with interests, living or traveling within the region, monitor official sources until the storm clears the area. Notably, there’s no guarantees associated with tropical storms, their strengths and movements, short of the most recent official reports and people in the area should be prepared for any contingencies should the reports change.
More as it becomes available…
Coming out of nowhere, driving like rain, stormbringer dances on the thunder again…