Hurricane Rina Warning
Editor's Note: As US Consular Wardens, the Working Gringos have agreed to post these warnings when they are released by the US Consulate. We want to assure our readers that much of what is talked about here doesn't relate to many parts of the Yucatan. Obviously, if you are on any of the Yucatan beaches, a hurricane warning is a more dire situation than if you are in Merida, 30 miles inland. Also obviously, 99.99% of the Yucatan is not subject to mudslides, for instance, since the highest point for miles around is probably the overpass on the Periferico. However, it is important to be aware when a hurricane is coming and to take precautions as needed. We have added some links at the bottom of articles written in the past about hurricane preparedness and hurricane experiences. We hope you will all be careful and that there are no problems with Hurricane Rina in the Yucatan, or anywhere else. When all is said and done, if we have to go through a hurricane, we would rather be in the Yucatan (in Merida or somewhere inland, preferably in an old stone house that has survived a few hurricanes already) during a hurricane than almost anywhere else we can think of.
Dear U.S. citizens:
This Emergency Message is to inform U.S. citizens that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a warning for Hurricane Rina, which is currently located north of Honduras and east of Belize. The U.S. National Weather Service predicts that Rina is strengthening as it approaches the coast of Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula. It is currently predicted to approach the coast of Quintana Roo (between Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and/or Chetumal) late this week or this weekend at major hurricane strength. Please visit the National Hurricane Center’s website to follow the storm’s path.
Americans in Quintana Roo, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and Tulum, should take the following facts into consideration as they plan for the arrival of Hurricane Rina, and make decisions about whether to remain in the area:
- Past storms have closed the airports in Cancun and Cozumel for several days, requiring travelers to make major changes to their plans.
- The ferry connecting Cozumel to Playa del Carmen also closes before a hurricane strikes. When the airport and the ferry are closed, there is no way from Cozumel to the mainland or the United States.
- Electricity including refrigeration and air conditioning, have been unavailable after past storms.
- Mexican authorities are likely to conduct mandatory evacuations of low-lying and coastal areas, including hotels on the beach. Mexican government shelters are adequately supplied, but do not provide accommodation at resort hotel standards.
- Businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, may be closed after the storm, and may have suffered damage.
- In the wake of past storms, due to airport delays and local business closings, Americans have run the risk of running out of required medication.
- Friends and relatives are likely to be concerned about you. We recommend that you contact them to ensure that they have contact information for you, including the hotel name or property address where you are staying. Both land lines and cell phone networks may become unreliable due to the hurricane.
- We strongly urge Americans to sign up in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This system will allow us to answer questions from concerned friends or relatives more efficiently. You can enroll online at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/
In addition to danger from wind, life threatening flash floods and mudslides are possible. Coastal areas are especially vulnerable to these hazards. U.S. citizens in coastal areas may be impacted by the storm and are strongly encouraged to monitor media reports, and the Mexican Government’s Proteccion Civil (Civil Protection) website, http://www.proteccioncivil.gob.mx for updated information about the storm and to follow official instructions. The website of the Proteccion Civil of the State of Quintana Roo can be monitored at www.proteccioncivil.qroo.gob.mx. U.S. citizens are urged to stay clear of beaches as rough seas associated with storm conditions create severe hazards. U.S. citizens should stay in contact with relatives and friends in the U.S. to apprise them of their whereabouts, both before and after the storm. Visitors should be familiar with their hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans. If you must travel during this time please follow normal heavy rain precautions. U.S. citizens should carry their travel documents (i.e. U.S. Passport, Birth Certificate, picture ID’s, etc.) with them at all times or secure them by placing them in a safe waterproof location.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Additional information on hurricanes and storm preparedness may be found in the “Hurricane Season-Know Before You Go” pamphlet at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_2915.html and on the “Natural Disasters” page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1207.html.
Updated information on travel in Mexico may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada, or from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The U.S. Consulate in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, has responsibility for the Mexican States of Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Campeche. The Consulate remains open for business. The Consulate can be reached during its regular business hours (M-F, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) by telephone at 999-942-5700; by fax at 999-942-5777; and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. After hours, for emergencies involving U.S. citizens in the Mexican states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche, call the Consulate’s main number and follow instructions to be connected to the Merida duty officer.
Full contact information follows:
CONSULATE MERIDA (Calle 60 No. 338-K x 29 y 31, Colonia Alcala Martin, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico)
Main switchboard dialing from the US: 011-52-999-942-5700
Main switchboard dialing from outside Merida but within Mexico: 01-999-942-5700
CONSULAR AGENCY CANCUN (Blvd. Kukulkan Km 13, Torre La Europea, Despacho 301 ZH, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico 77500)
Office dialing from the US: 011-52-998-883-0272
Office dialing from outside Cancun but within Mexico: 01-998-883-0272
CONSULAR AGENCY COZUMEL (Plaza Villa Mar en el Centro, Plaza Principal, (Parque Juárez between Melgar and 5th Avenue) 2nd floor, locales #8 and 9, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico)
Office dialing from the US: 011-52-987-872-4574
Office dialing from outside Cozumel but within Mexico: 01-987-872-4574
CONSULAR AGENCY PLAYA DEL CARMEN ("The Palapa," Calle 1 Sur, between Avenida 15 and Avenida 20, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico)
Office dialing from the US: 011-52-984-873-0303
Office dialing from outside Playa Del Carmen but within Mexico: 01-984-873-0303