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…