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Merida Hurricane Update: Dawn Tuesday

21 August 2007 News

We woke to some gusts of wind and a light rain. The clouds in the sky are still moving quickly, but the winds are mild so far. When we woke up the rain was just sprinkling... now it's a steady rain that is more than we want to walk around in, so the dogs have gone back to sleep.

We've been watching BBC and CNN broadcasting from Cancun and Puerto Aventuras. The local standup guy in Puerto Aventuras was making as much as he could out of the conditions, but they looked pretty ho-hum to us... no more than a normal tropical storm with 15-foot waves, he claims. Looked more like 5 feet to us (but we're from California, where they have real waves). We're sure things are different down in Chetumal, but for some reason they chose not to go all the way down there. Hmmm...

Once it gets lighter out, maybe we'll drive around and see if there's anything worth taking a photo to show everyone.


  • carolyn 8 years ago

    sry forgot to check the contact box

  • carolyn 8 years ago

    Have been getting the nerve up to move to mexico and it does my heart good to see how concerned people are about each other. Both me and my sister are retired military n cannot seem to make it on our income in the states so we r trying real hard to get up our courage to make this move. With our friend who is continuously praising mexico maybe we will make this move with her help. Best to all carolyn and marilyn

  • Dan and Kathy 8 years ago

    Thank you all for your information and comments. We vacationed in Uaymitun last Febraury/March and will be back in '08. We were very concerned regarding the effects of Dean. A mutual friend/New York/Chicxulub homeowner lead me to this sight. Again, thank you.

  • Carlos Daniel Gallegos 8 years ago

    3 cheers for Benita! I too give much thanks to Working Gringos for their reports from Merida. As their readers know. I am from and in Texas. My wife, whom I call Working Yucateca, is lives and works in Merida. I think that I have a little closer connection to Merida than most. :-) Yucatan Living is one of the best web sites on Merida and the Yucatan. I promote it as much as possible. I have shared with Working Gringos many stories about me and Ariadna. I'm happy everyone made it safely in Merida. My heart felt greetings to all of you.

  • michele 8 years ago

    enjoying your articles and planning a 25th anniversary return to the Yucatan, this time to really SEE Merida and Uxmal. Enjoy your site and especially turned to you for hurricane information. Mas adelante, I will be doing more research for our trip in January and will certainly be reading more, meanwhile, your regular emails remind of this trip soon

  • Joanne 8 years ago

    It is great to hear the cities were spared. As a tourista who was in Cancun in Roxanne some years ago it was amasing to see how quickly the city put the tourist area back together. I have to say it wasn't the same for the Mayan fishing villages. We were on our 25th anniversary and went touring after the storm and were in awe of the destruction in the countryside. It was rewarding when we went to the main grocery store in Canncunand bought several carts of food and went back to that village and handed it out!! Any help that can be given is appreciated. We have been back with gifts since then. Our prayers have been with all during this storm.

  • CasiYucateco 8 years ago

    Friends who have relatives in Chetumal (very near Balacar) report the power is still out for many people there. I imagine that landlines (wired telephone service) is down too. The two houses of relatives in Chetumal did not actually experience damage at all (cement houses) but travel is a little difficult due to downed trees, light posts, power lines, etc. Clean up is moving along.

  • Concerned Friend 8 years ago

    I'd like to add my thanks for your postings, which are so much more informative than what the mainstream media is providing.

    I'm very concerned about friends in Bacalar (Rancho Encantado) and have been unsuccessful in making contact or learning definitively about the conditions there - other than knowing they were in the direct path of the storm. Any information you could provide about the area would be most sincerely appreciated. Thank you.

  • Gatita 8 years ago

    Thank you so much for putting my mind at ease. I spent several years working in Merida and have a great many friends there for whom I was very concerned (one in particular who just gave birth to her third son). Your report of the conditions in Merida and the video has made me feel much better.

  • KILBOURNE 8 years ago

    Thanks for the updates and commentary everybody. Feeling rather helpless and useless, I have been tracking this storm (from Los Angeles, California) via the hurricane-tracking websites I got through your articles, and from Lorena at Ecoyuc Tours in Merida - I too preferred not to rely on mainstream sensationalist media for my info - first, I'm glad to see that the Yucatan peninsula weathered this monster so well - I get the impression that a) advance notice on storms like this gets better all the time, and b) that everybody from Cancun all the way up to the U.S. gulf coast learned a great deal from past experience and c) as a result, everybody seemed to be very well prepared to deal with whatever Dean had to dish out. Best wishes to everybody, and I, too, am ready to lend a couple of hands if need be when I'm down there in December. Perhaps an update or two on help needed after hurricane season is behind us would be instructive.


  • Cynthia 8 years ago

    Glad you guys are okay and that beautiful Merida was spared a hard hit by Dean.

    I want to comment on your original post. In my coastal town, I have watched reporters lean as if the wind wouldn't allow them to stand knowing that we were only experiencing an occasional strong gust.

    I returned home after evacuating for Rita to find a few small tree limbs in my yard and driveway. I expected much worse after watching our news reporters recap Rita's action in our area. Rita wiped out areas east of us, but those assigned to the Galveston Bay area had little to report and therefore, created a little drama.

    I have met you and know that you are wonderful people who would never make light of something serious. Even without meeting you, reading your blog entry, I would have totally understood the message.

    Again, glad all is well there. I am in San Miguel de Allende waiting for what is left of Dean to appear. Since I speak little Spanish, I have no idea what we are in store for, though I assume we will be limited to a major rain event and perhaps some gusty winds.

  • sally 8 years ago

    Working Gringos Thank you so much!

  • Krita 8 years ago

    Dearest Ron, we are searching for a group that will invite us to lend our skills, labor, and, yes, compassion, to your friends in those more remote areas. Do you know the website? Probably... anyway, I'm going to try through them to see if they have suggestions for how my family and I can help restoration efforts for some of our days there in Akumal. If you, or anyone else has some concrete contact info of Restoration Groups (formal or casual), it'd be easier for us to find a cause to devote our goodwill to.

    And try to rest easier... the people of that region, like the ruins of the Mayans, have weathered many of these storms. Just like the grasses and the fronds, they remain strong... they recuperate... they regenerate... You'll hear from your people soon, I am sure.

    Chin Up...;-)

  • Krita 8 years ago

    Thanks, Pals. Yep... not long after I asked my question here, Raul at Chichen Itza said that funny straw roof on my Bungalow, which I was SURE would have perished in the storm, was still intact, and all was well in their back yard. I swear! Sensationalism, fear-inspiring news angles, overblown weather reports... We are reminded that commercialized news stations are nothing more than bastardized Public Relation specialists... (don't get pissy on me, I'm being humorously cynnical here!) ;-)

    Soon, one day, I will come be an expat with the rest of you. I will be the loco gringo! Oh, and Casi... because we have little faith in the baggage handlers of the airlines of America, we (three of us) are coming for our 13 day stay with CARRY ON LUGGAGE ONLY--- we figure what doesn't fit we'll buy there... so yes, expect me to buy "small business/privately owned only" to promote the local economy.

    Hasta Pronto!

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago


    The B&B Los Arcos is fine. There was no damage to speak of anywhere in Merida.

  • CasiYucateco 8 years ago

    First hand report from a good friend as far south as Campeche (city): Only had wind and then not as bad as many storms. There were only a few periods of rain, again much lighter than you'd expect from a hurricane.

    The pathway seems to be pretty much straight east to west, across the southern part -- least populated part.

    So, for Krita or other vacationers soon-to-come - come on down! The roads from Merida to Cancun, Chichen Itza, Progreso, Dzibilchaltun, Campeche (great Spanish fortress/walled city too often overlooked), Uxmal, etc, should be fine.

    Although this was a huge hurricane, it weakened quite quickly on striking land. Yes, it was a Category 5, but only just recently and moved west too quickly to build strength.

    The hard-hit areas of Mahajual, Xcalak, Chetumal? Still waiting for reports from those areas.

    Coming to the Yucatan to vacation now will help the economy, which helps everyone. And, there's nothing in the "normal" tourist areas that has received damage at all. The ruins, after all, have made it through a thousand or more years worth of hurricanes. (And, don't forget Campeche, right, Gato?) ;-)

  • manuelito 8 years ago

    working gringos are cool,i like their articles of any kind,do not go back to california unless you really have to,or after we meet one day,:D,i've been reading the news in a lot of internet news sites,they say a lot of things and i do believe that they exagerate a little bit sometimes,i've been in a few of those agresive hurricanes it's awesome i mean after the storm, there is always calm and what to do after a hurricane??? well this is good news... go shrimp fishing,there is tons and tons of shrimp now on the shores and under the little bridges well now you know what to do after a hurricane,oh,unless there is some damage to fix at your place of course, otherwise hit the road to progreso.i remember the hurricane gilberto back on the '88 or somewhere there it was horrible i got some pictures of me standing next to the huge ship that landed in the shores of chelem,it was huge and tall,awesome, that's all i remember.thanks working gringos,hey how come you guys don't change your banner to....grintecos????? sounds bad uh??? it does i know.i am out bye.

  • Sally 8 years ago

    Anyone know if the b&b Los Arcos in Merida had damage?

    Thanks so much.

  • Steve 8 years ago

    Funny thing this... I watched BBC World News this morning live from Cancun and thought that there seemed to be little (relatively speaking) happening despite the reporter's best efforts at appearing windswept - and wondered myself why the guy wasn't a little further south! I think we all know. Glad to hear most things appear OK now. And continue that healthy combo of compassion and humorous cynicism.

  • Andrea 8 years ago

    I think I speak for all of us who have spent time with and personally know the Working Gringos when I say you have totally misinterpreted the comments about the hurricane situation because I know first hand and have witnessed for myself the kindness and compassion they have for humans and other creatures alike. Would a person with no compassion give the Pemex worker money to go in and buy the poor emaciated street dogs a couple of hot dogs? I think not. Please be careful when flinging harsh judgement at people you don't personally know.

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago

    We've just returned from a driving tour around Merida and up to Progreso and the Gulf Coast. There was very little rain this morning and no flooding anywhere. We saw only a couple downed trees and signs from occasional strong winds up to about 40 MPH. Almost everything except Oxxo, 7-Eleven, McDonalds, Pemex and some grocery stores are closed, but will re-open tomorrow. The police, national guard and CFE were out in force, but there was very little for them to do. We did not lose any basic services. More details to come...

    Tom, there was no tidal surge at the Gulf and the waves were only a couple of feet high. We saw children swimming in the water and couples strolling along the beach, despite the strong winds.

    Krita, you should have no trouble with your lodging in Merida or Chichen Itza, once you arrive. Our main concern is for the areas of Mahajual and Xcalak on the southern Caribbean coast, where we've heard there has been quite a bit of destruction of these recently developed towns. Of course, the humble Maya villages just inland and along the storm's path can now use all the assistance they can get, so we think a "village restoration vacation" is a great idea.

  • Krita 8 years ago

    thanks to all for the TONS of info we've gathered here as well as Dean Updates. We have a vacation planned to stay at the Luz en Yucatan this Saturday night. We also plan(ned) to stay two nights at Chichen Itza, then 5 nights in Akumal... We were going to use the public buses to transport from one location to the next. Can you offer info on those main roads that would get us between the three? Of course, we're axiously awaiting word from each of our accomodations as to whether or not we can still stay there (especially Akumal--I read it's closed for 7 days for glass clean-up). But we're absolutely coming (as long as Delta will fly us in--but by Saturday I'm sure they will), and if necessary, we'll just turn our Mayan Culture Educational Vacation into a Mayan Jungle Village Restoration Vacation and volunteer to help clean up! :-)

  • Tray 8 years ago

    Thank you for your updates. It looks as if Merida dodged a very close bullet. I look forward to your next update on weather conditions, and whether or not you get any flooding. Your website is invaluable!

  • Khaki 8 years ago

    There are more than a few of us who either lost homes to Katrina and Rita (and still owe the mortgage), or had them severely damaged and have yet to be able to make repairs. Having lived in both the Gulf South and Yucatan, we now know the difference between “realâ€¬Ě Hurricane Preparedness and Recovery versus a government that is Hell-bent on allowing its own citizens to die in storms and that deliberately blocks recovery efforts so that big tourism interests can buy and develop the coast for pennies on the dollar. If Americans only knew how far ahead of them Yucatan – and all of Mexico - is on this issue, heads would roll (literally) in Washington – as well they should!!!

  • Ray 8 years ago

    Have to agree with the quality of news reporting from CNN and others. Totally driven by ratings versus facts (such as one comment early this morning in which the health care in Merida was questioned). More sensationalism than reporting.

    Your information has been first rate as always so a big thank you.

  • Tom V 8 years ago

    Thanks for the updates, WG's! Any word on the tides at the beach?

  • Ron Atkinson 8 years ago

    I am grateful for the information I receive from this site. Perhaps I am naive to think that the information is reliable for I have no way to verify from Vancouver but, having spent some considerable time in the Yucatan my trust is with the authors.
    While watching from afar as well as having freinds on the ground in Tulum and the Sian Kaan, the information I am receiving is of the sensationalistic type from the news sources and due to safety concerns just hearsay from my associates. For the time being and until my people can get some hard facts to relay to me this is my only reliable source for a balanced perspective.
    Regarding the situation in Punta Allen.
    Trust me when I say that although I am a Canadian my love of the area south of Tulum is real, my compassion for the people is real. The people of Punta Allen and my neighbors in the Kaan are constantly on my mind.
    I will wait until I hear from them before I rest.
    Take care,

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago

    At times like these, it's also important to have some perspective, which we seldom see from the mainstream media. The good news is that hurricane Dean made landfall at one of the least populated areas of the Caribbean coast, the Sian Ka'an Preserve. It almost immediately collapsed to a Category 3 hurricane, bringing less storm surge and rain than forecast. The level of preparedness and the efficiency of the evacuations from the coast were the best ever. And unlike Wilma, the storm is moving fast, so any damage will be relatively less.

    But you won't see much of this kind of news on television, because the news media reads from a disaster movie script that is calculated to advance careers, boost ratings and sell commercials. Unfortunately, their pitch can scare people who have family, homes and businesses here and feel powerless to do anything to help.

    The original storm track for hurricane Dean included direct hits to Cancun, the Gulf Coast and Merida. At this moment, it is passing us about 130 miles directly to the south - its closest point of contact - and the worst we have seen is mild gusts and light rain. We dodged a rather large and frightening bullet, for which we (and undoubtedly many of our readers) are justifiably relieved.

    The folks who live along the southern Caribbean coast who took the worst of Dean have their work cut out for them, but they are safe and will probably receive more government assistance per capita than the victims of hurricane Katrina and will not be permanently displaced. To their credit, they know what to do and how to rebuild. We have watched them rebound after several hurricanes just since we've moved here.

    Oh, and for Yucatan, the season has just begun. September and October are usually the hardest months, so let's be grateful for what we have while we have it.

    Como siempre, la lucha sigue...

  • John 8 years ago

    to "have some compassion"
    I hope that your family in punta allen and their property is safe and unharmed

  • Benita 8 years ago

    I think the Working Gringos have lots of compassion.If you read anything on their site you will know this. They are also respectful of the people and culture. I think what we are getting from them is a realistic view of what the conditions are. Surely you have experienced the hype and sensationalization that the media likes portray. It makes for a more exciting story and often has nothing to do with reality. I personally appreciate having their perspective on the situation.

    I am from Canada and have friends in Merida and property both in Merida and on the beach. I have been watching reports on Dean for days now and am most concerned for the welfare of all the people and communities involved with the hurricane. Reading the reports from the Working Gringos lets me know what the situation really is. I respect their views. They have plenty of compassion.

  • Grant 8 years ago

    I appreciate the update...and the humor. Thanks, WGs, for being on top of things, as usual.

  • Bob Martin 8 years ago

    It seemed to ME that the ironic humor displayed in this brief article was aimed at the lack of (...and perhaps lackadasical) news coverage that was being broadcast that DIDN'T report from where the more serious damage might be occuring. It seems to ME the writer(s) were ridiculing apparently or potentially bogus TV reporting that attempted to make a mountain - or bigger waves - out of a molehill...which has nothing to do with compassion.

  • H 8 years ago

    have some compassion?



  • susan loeppky 8 years ago

    Thanks for the update. I hope that a little rain and a wind is all that comes to Merida.
    I am living in Korea now, but I used to make Merida my home and I loved the place.
    I hope to return some day for a visit and perhaps to live there again.

  • Khaki 8 years ago

    keep the Merida updates coming. your's is the only weather report we're getting from there right now.

  • Have some compassion 8 years ago

    I am from Punta Allen, and all of my family has been evacuated to Carrillo Puerto. I am state side visiting my family, worring sick about all those that are in Dean right now. I am also worried that our fishing village will be gone. Meanwhile you crack jokes about it, perhaps you should go back to California and your real waves....
    Have some compassion.

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