Wilma is grazing Cancun and dawdling toward the U.S. faster and slower with a trajectory that is merely playing with our heads. Will she hit Miami, Tampa, Cuba, none of the above, or all of the above?
When? First she moved fast and was due to hit Florida early Saturday; now NOAA says (in the 4PM predictions), that she will center over Cuba at 1 PM on Sunday.
A website for Playa del Carmen’s huge foreign community has reprinted a State Department announcement. “This Public Announcement is being issued to urge U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risk of travel to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico at this time due to the threat posed by Hurricane Wilma. The storm is predicted to pass near the Yucatan Peninsula on October 21.”
It goes on to advise that the U.S. Consulate in Merida will be available on Friday morning for emergency services, though only via cellphone. “If staying in Cancun, Cozumel or on the Riviera Maya, U.S. citizens are urged to locate shelter, monitor media reports, and follow all official instructions. Visitors to Cancun, Cozumel, and the Riviera Maya should be familiar with their hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans, policies, or procedures.
Please see the Caribbean Public Announcement regarding hurricane season dated July 8, 2005 on the Department’s website at State Department Travel Advisories.”
“Updated information on travel in Mexico may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. For further information please consult the Consular Information Sheets for Mexico available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov or contact the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City at 011-52-55-5080-2000; U.S. Consulate in Merida at 011-52-999925-5011, after hours 011-52999-947-2285; Consular Agency in Cancun at 011-52998-883-0272 or after hours at 011-52998-845-4364; Consular Agency in Cozumel at 011-52-987-872-4574 or after hours at 011-52-987-876-0624.”
Information from and about Playa del Carmen can be found at Playa del Carmen Information.
Yahoo reported that the cyclone was grazing Cancun. Their description was: “…Hurricane Wilma’s outer edge battered Cancun’s white-sand beaches Thursday as officials ordered hotel guests to evacuate, tourists jockeyed for spots on the last flights out, and tens of thousands of people fled from Honduras to the Florida Keys. Wilma weakened slightly as it roared toward Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and south Florida, with forecasters calling it an “extremely dangerous” storm that already has killed 13 people. It was expected to reach Cancun early Friday, the second hurricane to hit the resort this year, following Hurricane Emily in July, before turning northeast toward Florida.” See
The 4 PM trajectory prediction from NOAA:
Click on the thumbnail to enlarge.
Gov. Jeb Bush has declared a State of Emergency for Florida. No one in this Republican administration — state or federal — wants to see the kind of mis-managed debacles of the last two major catastrophes.
“Gov. Jeb Bush’s declaration in advance of the storm gives officials the ability to activate the National Guard and broad authority over evacuation plans, the distribution of recovery supplies and other items.”
A friend in Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico (4 or 5 hours south of Cancun) e-mailed me the following this afternoon at 3:17 PM:
“Right now it’s calm in Bacalar with a few wind gusts. We are watching closely this storm because it is deciding if it’s on a straight track for Chet or is going to veer north. It turned in on us overnight. Looks like south of Cancun will be the landing ground.
The local news says they are turning off our power tonight at 9 pm. We’ll see if they really do that or not. It is so hard to tell at this stage what this storm will decide to do. I do think we’re in for some Tropical Storm winds…”