Riviera Maya, Q.R. — November 30 marked the end of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season for the Cancun, Riviera Maya region. Adrián Martínez Ortega, state coordinator of Civil Protection referred to it as “a historic year” with a record breaking 31 tropical systems.
The year saw 31 tropical systems of which 17 were tropical storms and 13, hurricanes. One tropical depression also formed, bringing the seasonal tally to 31. Of these, four affected the state of Quintana Roo.
The first system to arrive was Tropical Depression Cristóbal, which hit the southern portion of the state June 5 and 6, leaving it severely flooded. After that, Cancun and Riviera Maya experienced a relatively normal summer-rainy season, however, as Fall approached, the region’s bad weather began.
Tropical Storm Gamma slammed the region with extreme winds and heavy rains October 3, as it made landfall in the vicinity of Tulum with maximum sustained winds of 110 km/h and gusts of 140 km/h. It’s powerful winds were felt up and down the entire coast.
At 5:30 a.m. on October 7, the center of Hurricane Delta made landfall in the vicinity of Puerto Morelos, weakening to a Category 2 from its Category 4 forecast before it hit. Delta was located 35 kms south of Cancún with maximum winds of 175 km/h and gusts of 205 km/h.
Hurricane Zeta was the 27 named storm and the second hurricane to hit the state. It arrived October 26, slamming into Cozumel as a Category 1 with maximum sustained winds of 130 km/h and gusts of 155 km/h. Zeta was slow to make its way across the mainland where it caused destruction from Cancun to Mahahual.
Reports from the State Tourism Secretariat (Sedetur) and the Cancun Hotels and Nautical Association say the northern part of the state evacuated 41,000 tourists, of which approximately 35,000 were vacationing in Cancun. They were taken to temporary shelters and neighboring states to avoid the impact of Hurricane Delta.
The October storms also caused the temporary closure of five Cancun hotels and the loss of nearly 100 boats along with dock damage in excess of 100 million peso. The northern region suffered damage to buildings and the erosion of Quintana Roo beaches.
During the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, six of the hurricanes became major hurricanes, making it the most active season on record. The season had five Category 4 hurricanes, the highest number recorded since 2005.
The 2020 season was the fifth consecutive season to feature at least one Category 5 hurricane. It is also only the second tropical cyclone season to feature the Greek letter storm naming system, the first being the 2005 season.