CANCUN, Mexico (AP) – Hurricane Delta is a slightly weaker, but still dangerous Category 3 hurricane, a potential south of Kankun Resort with a speed of 120 mph (195 kilometers per hour) toward Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. For landfall began before Wednesday morning.
Quintana Ruo Gov. Carlos Joaquin said the state government made preparations, but warned residents and tourists that “it is a strong, powerful storm,” although he considered it a good sign that the delta had weakened late Tuesday. He said that since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, there had not been a storm in this area.
The Delta accelerated to 80 mph in just 24 hours, at a speed of 60 mph at 2 pm EDT Monday to 2 pm EDT on Tuesday at 140 mph. Its upper winds rose to a speed of 145 mph (230 kilometers per hour) before weakening late Tuesday night as it took off in the Yucatan.
Forecasters warned that it is still a highly dangerous storm despite being vulnerable, saying that it is a life-threatening storm, with large and dangerous waves as well as water levels 9 to 13 feet (2.7 to 4 m). .
The delta was centered about 80 miles (130 kilometers) from Kozumal in the wee hours of Wednesday and was moving west-northwest at 16 mph (26 mph).
Thousands of Quintana Row residents and tourists await the storm in dozens of government shelters. By 7 pm everyone was ordered to take to the streets
Evacuations of lowlands, islands and coastline expanded during Tuesday as the delta exploded warm Caribbean waters into a major storm. Most of the hotel area in Cancun was cleaned as guests were housed in inland shelters. In Cancun alone, the government opened 160 shelters.
Some 300 guests and about 200 employees were taken from the Fiesta Americana Condesa Hotel to the Technological Institute of Cancun campus. Wearing all masks, they spread on thin mattresses in a classroom building and tried to comfort workers in the windows of the building in a light rain. Some played cards or watched videos on their phones, while some called relatives.
Sean Sims, a tourist from Dallas, said, “The hotel did a great job of ensuring that we were provided to ensure that we were safe here at this location, so we have no worries.” Shelter with his wife, Rashonda Cooper, and their sons, 7-year-old Liam and 4-year-old Easton.
“This is my first (storm) experience, but I see that these people have a plan and they know what they are doing,” Sims said.
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State tourism officials said that more than 40,000 tourists were in Quintana Row, who would normally be there. The delta damage comes on top of an epidemic-induced lockdown that has devastated the state’s tourism industry.
At the Cancun Convention Center, 400 tourists from hotels and rental properties bunk for the night.
“We hope that we are definitely safer in this place,” said Quintana Ruo Tourism Secretary Marisol Venegas. “This is a structure in which other storms have occurred.”
The delta was projected to spend several hours fading the Yucatan Peninsula before moving into the Gulf of Mexico and strengthening again before a strike on the US Gulf Coast later in the week.
Louisiana Village. John Bel Edwards said the Delta was expected to land there on Friday night or Saturday morning and that the entire state is in a potential path of the storm. State and local officials in coastal areas were carrying out levies, sandbagging and other security measures.
Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Laura, which devastated the southwestern region when it roared ash as a Category 4 hurricane in August. More than 6,600 Laura evacuees in hotels around the state remain in New Orleans, mainly because their homes have suffered too much to return.
Mexico placed its naval commander in charge of the federal response. President Andrés Manuel López Obredor said Tuesday that 5,000 federal troops and emergency personnel are being made available in Quintana Row to assist with the storm effort.
Local and state officials urged residents to visit the shelters.
Juan Carlos Avila arrives at the Technological Institute of Cancun shelter with his seven-month pregnant wife, Joslenne, and their 3-year-old son, Alexander. He said that the employees have made him comfortable and seem well prepared.
The family, living in Miami, was in Cancun for a week and was already undergoing tropical storm gamma, which soaked the area over the weekend.
“We practically live in storms during our stay here in Cancun,” Avila said.
Associated Press writers Gabriel Alcocer in Cancun and Melinda Deslate in Baton Rouge, La. Contributed to this report.