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Holbox cleanup begins after passing of destructive cold front

Holbox, Q.R. — Cleanup has begun on the island of Holbox after being wind-battered by the passing of a cold front. State officials met on the island Tuesday to evaluate damage and assist in the cleanup.

Fallen beach shades, collapsed palapas and flooded streets were only some of the noted damage that will need to be addressed.

“In close collaboration with elements of the National Guard, State Coordination of Civil Protection Quintana Roo, Seop QRoo and Secretariat of Citizen Security of Q.Roo we are attending to the effects of the “Norte” event that caused strong winds and high waves in Holbox,” the Government of Quintana Roo said.

Structures were damaged after hours of strong winds and lapping waves. Photo: Feb. 6, 2024.

The island suffered extensive damage with unexpectedly strong winds Monday. While initial forecasts called for gusts of up to 80 kms/h, most of the Yucatan Peninsula recorded winds in excess of 90 kms/h with some areas of Yucatan reporting 120 kilometer per hour winds.

Manuel Escamilla Garcia, Island Mayor, said that during the night Monday some families in low areas were relocated to the constant pouring of sea water.

Over 70 percent of the small island of Holbox was left underwater after more than 12 hours of strong winds and lapping waves. Although there was no rain with the cold front, numerous buildings were left soaked and sagging.

Large posts were no match for the winds felt Monday. Photo: February 6, 2024.

Structures including heavy wood beach palapas, seaside shops and the “HO BOX” tourist sign, which now reads “ O O ” were heavy damaged, while streets were filled with flying palapa grass that was found laying across busy roadways.

Only two Os are left standing from the HO BOX tourist sign. Photo: Feb. 6, 2024.

Garcia said that the winds pushed sea water more than 400 meters into the town.

State officials toured the island Tuesday. Photo: Feb. 6, 2024.

Authorities began a major clean up Tuesday that included the repair of several electric poles and more than a dozen beach palapas that fell over in the wet sand. State officials have not provided an estimated cost in damage due to the passing of the cold front that left destruction across a majority of the state.