Riviera Maya, Q.R. — UPDATED: At 9:00 p.m., portions of the state of Quintana Roo have been upgraded to a Red or extreme alert as announced by governor Carlos Joaquin. On Wednesday evening, as Hurricane Grace approaches, the governor has updated regions due to the storm.
In his most recent address, he has reported that due to a slight change in trajectory and intensification of Grace to a Category 1 hurricane, a Red Alert is now issued for Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Tulum, Solidaridad, Isla Mujeres, Puerto Morelos, Benito Juarez (Cancun), Cozumel and Lazaro Cardenas.
A Orange Alert (high) is now in order for José María Morelos, Othón P. Blanco, Bacalar, Benito Juárez, Isla Mujeres and Lázaro Cárdenas, updated from a Yellow Alert (medium) earlier in the day.
The Director General of the State Coordination of Civil Protection, Adrián Martínez Ortega, says that the evacuation of 125 tourists from Tulum began this morning, and that shelters are on standby for residents in the communities of Punta Herrero and Isla María Elena.
Governor Joaquin says that all ferry services have been suspended and that all ports are closed to navigation due to four meter high waves.
With the update is also a notice on the temporary restriction of the sale of alcohol as of 5:00 p.m. The State Government, through the Ministry of Finance and Planning (SEFIPLAN), says alcoholic beverages sold in the municipalities of Solidaridad, Cozumel, Tulum and Felipe Carrillo Puerto is prohibited from 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 18 in order to maintain public order.
According to the NOAA, “Grace will continue to move over waters of very high oceanic heat content prior to reaching the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, which of course favors intensification.”
Hurricane Grace is forecast to make landfall north of Tulum, passing over the extreme southern portion of the island of Cozumel first. The governor says that as of 8:00 p.m., Grace was less than 400 kms from the coast and will arrive as a Category 1 hurricane.
He added that Grace is now expected to make landfall between Playa del Carmen and Akumal between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. Thursday.