Hurricane Delta rips through Cancun, but damage less than feared
By Anthony Esposito
CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) - Tourists in Mexico's premier Caribbean resort, Cancun, made their way through battered streets, broken glass and trees felled by the Hurricane Delta on Wednesday.
Delta lost power before reaching land. But thousands of residents and tourists had already retired to shelters, and flooded streets, overturned boats, and debris from broken windows and roofs testified to their power.
A couple of US newlyweds spent one night of their honeymoon hiding in a private school home.
"We really thought COVID was going to mess up the wedding. Little did we know it was going to be COVID, one hurricane and then another hurricane," said 50-year-old Ann Ernst, whose honeymoon was first delayed by tropical storm Gamma in Mexico Beaten last week and then hit by the Hurricane Delta.
By early afternoon, Delta had spilled over the peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico, where it was expected to strengthen again and turn north towards Louisiana and Texas, threatening large oil facilities.
Texas-born Steven Helling crouched in his 16th-floor apartment in Cancun, facing the ocean, where he felt the building sway, and discovered that morning that his glass balcony railing along with many others in the complex had been blown out .
"Honestly to God, you could feel the building moving ... the winds were amazing," said Helling, adding that experiencing a hurricane was "on my bucket list".
Fallen trees partially blocked access to Cancun's five-star hotels. A policeman hacked a path with an ax. Smaller lots suffered from wall collapses or broken windows, including a local bank branch of Banco Azteca that was surrounded by broken glass.
Delta was extremely strong overnight and weakened to Category 2 on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale with winds of 177 km / h when it reached the coast near Puerto Morelos, a fishing village popular with tourists.
With a similar strength it then drove over the Yucatan, an area with jungle, Mayan ruins and modern indigenous cities and villages of the Maya.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a storm surge warning for parts of the US Gulf Coast, including High Island Texas and along the Alabama-Florida border.
Delta's arrival was a blow to Mexico's efforts to revitalize tourism hit by the coronavirus pandemic in the surrounding beachfront state of Quintana Roo.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito in Cancun, writing by Frank Jack Daniel and Daina Beth Solomon in Mexico City; editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio)
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