Now that you are thinking of buying your Mexican Caribbean home, it is wise to know the hurricane culture there. From June 1 to November 30, the authorities implement the protocol for monitoring hydrometeorological phenomena in the Mexican Caribbean.
Hence, they constantly monitor the Atlantic Ocean from the coasts of Cape Verde to the Gulf of Mexico. Only to prevent a hurricane from catching the inhabitants off guard.
In 1988 hurricane Gilberto, one of the strongest on the scale of Saffir Simpson, hit the coasts of Quintana Roo. It exceeded category 5 with maximum sustained winds of 296 km / h, making it the second most intense hurricane in recorded history. Only Hurricane Allen outranked it with winds of 305 km / h.
This rare and extremely powerful Cape Verde hurricane affected the Caribbean, eastern and northern Mexico, and southern Texas.
Fortunately, there were few human losses in the Yucatan Peninsula, 318 people. Most of them did not protect themselves and did not follow the authorities’ instructions due to ignorance of the phenomenon.
From that year on, Civil Protection authorities integrated the hurricane protocol. And this area is protected with a monitoring system and alerts to protect the population.
Civil Protection Protocol
The University of Miami, Florida, and the USA institutions in charge of monitoring the ocean constantly track the weather. They also share this information with Mexico. Thus, when an area of low pressure is detected, it is monitored to prevent the population from being caught unprepared in case it becomes a hurricane.
As soon as it becomes a tropical storm, the community is informed about the heavy rains and flooding that could affect the entire Yucatan Peninsula.
Around 300 tropical depressions that do not develop as a hurricane form from June to November. However, the authorities closely monitor them to alert the community.
The authorities implement the hurricane protocol in the state as soon as they detect a tropical storm. That is, with winds of 63km / h and with characteristics of becoming a category one hurricane (winds between 118 and 153 kilometers per hour).
The Mexican Navy, state and municipal governments, companies, and national and state civil protection participate in this protocol.
It monitors the trajectory and the possible place of impact of the eye of the hurricane. The government evacuates the area to prevent any incident that the imminent entry of the cyclone with greater force may cause.
When the weather phenomenon degrades or disappears, they withdraw the alert and monitor until another climate disturbance appears.
Population with cyclonic culture in the Caribbean
Fortunately, those who have lived for some time in the area constantly monitor and are attentive to the regular reports of Civil Protection. Therefore, when receiving the hurricane alert, they already have a kit prepared for the contingency.
The kit consists of cans of non-perishable food, lanterns, candles, water, and a radio with batteries. They also protect their Mexican Caribbean home with cyclonic curtains or wood planks to block the entrance of the wind or projectiles to their homes.
The Ministry of Defense and the municipal authorities supervise the shelters, often set in schools far from the sea areas. They evacuate and take people living on or near the seashore or where the storm will hit to these shelters.
In 2005 Hurricane Wilma dropped torrential rainfall, inundated coastlines with a significant storm surge, and produced an extended period of strong winds. The hurricane lashed parts of the Yucatán peninsula with hurricane-force winds gusts for nearly 50 hours. The gust in Cancun was the strongest ever recorded in Mexico.
However, Wilma killed eight people across Mexico – seven in Quintana Roo and one in Yucatan. Fortunately, this was a very low number compared to Gilberto, and this decrease is due to people’s preparedness.
In the case of hotels, they check the authorities’ reports and keep their guests informed of the situation. Most decide to leave and take transportation to the airport to evacuate before the closure of commercial flights. Those flights must close before the imminent entry of the hurricane.
The hotel staff also prepares the shelters that most hotels have. They mostly use as shelter the rooms far from the coasts or the support villages of their workers. They enabled them to shelter the guests who could not leave or who decided to stay to experience first-hand a phenomenon of this magnitude.
Thanks to all these prevention protocols, it has been possible to mitigate the economic impact, saving lives and evacuating tourists in the Mexican Caribbean. So, since Hurricane Gilberto, there has been “a culture of hurricanes” in this tourist pole.
What can you do in the event of a hurricane, and how to protect your Mexican Caribbean home?
The first thing you should do is be attentive to the official reports of Civil Protection. They constantly monitor the weather and receive information from the University of Miami, Florida. Prepare your emergency kit.
We recommend that you check with expert engineers if your property in Mexico is suitable for shelter from the hurricane. You could also protect your property with anticyclone curtains.
Once the impact is imminent, check if you are in the area where it will hit the hardest or if your home is close to the ocean. If that is the case, prepare to evacuate and go to a temporary shelter.
In case you have to go through it in a shelter, report to your consulate or embassy authorities so that they know that you are in an area that could be affected.
It is also advisable to install the guest locator app from the Ministry of Tourism to monitor your stay and location. That way, your relatives and authorities can contact you when the phenomenon passes.