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Near hurricane strength winds batter Quintana Roo coast

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — Weak poles, old trees and traffic lights were only some of the fatalities seen around the state Monday due to strong winds. Near hurricane strength winds arrived with the full entry of cold front 32 that blew even bird’s nests from trees.

While Mexico’s Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN) initially forecast gusts of between 60 and 80 kms/hour, some areas of Quintana Roo reported as much as 90 km/hour winds.

According to Protección Civil of Cancun in a Monday update, “cold front number 32 and its associated cold air mass will produce a probability of rain and intervals of showers over the Yucatan Peninsula as well as a “North” event with gusts of 70 to 90 km/h and waves of 2 to 4 meters high on the coasts.”

Maritime ports were shut due to the overly strong winds and high waves. Photo: Feb. 5, 2024.

By Monday afternoon, navigation was closed, trees had begun to fall and large billboards were being folded over along busy roads. In Cancun, several full sized billboards crumpled under the stress of the ongoing winds that were felt Monday.

One private vehicle was crushed by a city billboard that gave way along Colosio Boulevard.

A private car was crushed by a toppling billboard in Cancun Monday. Photo: Feb. 5, 2024.

Vehicles continued to go around other large city signs as they fell around Cancun. A set of traffic lights along Avenida Periférico of Cancun twisted in the wind leaving one set to face the other.

A set of Cancun traffic lights bent from the ongoing winds. Photo: Feb. 5, 2024.

Several weak trees also fell around the city, one of which took out a set of power lines that left dozens of residential areas without electricity and water. Aguakan issued an alert early Monday regarding the water cut due to the lack of power for its pumps.

“We inform the population of Cancun that the CFE is working on the repair of an electrical line that was affected by the fall of a tree, which supplies energy to some of our wells and Catchment Area, so in the following hours the supply of drinking water could be affected in the regions,” the statement read.

One of the hardest hit areas was Holbox. Much of the island was left waterlogged while a large sea side palapa completely collapsed after being unable to endure the ongoing winds.

A seaside palapa collapsed and the popular Holbox tourist sign damaged due to hours of strong winds.
Photo: February 5, 2024.

Around the state, ferry crossing were shut and municipal personnel out attending to reports of blocked roads due to fallen trees.

Ferry crossings were closed Monday due to near 90 km/h winds.

The island of Cozumel was also badly battered by the winds that saw ports closed and beaches not so welcoming.

Cozumel seas were beyond choppy Monday with the arrival of cold front 32. Photo: Feb. 5, 2024.

Cold front 32, which began entering the region late Sunday, is expected to move away from the coast Tuesday. The strong gusts of wind were felt across the state until late Monday night.

City officials in Playa del Carmen attend to one of many calls of blocked roads by felled trees. Photo: February 5, 2024.

The near hurricane strength winds were the result of a mass of cold U.S. air that mixed with the warm humid air of the Yucatan Peninsula. The town of San Felipe in the state of Yucatan was also left under water after reports of 120 km/h winds.

San Felipe, Yucatán. Photo: February 5, 2024.

The SMN has forecast a total of 56 cold fronts for the country during the 2023-2024 winter season. This most recent was number 32.