Hurricane Rina is threatening to hit the Mexican coastline as it nears landfall near the tourist hotspot of Cozumel in Mexico. Tourists are already being evacuated and cruise ships in the Caribbean are having to change course as the Category 2 storm blows through the region.
The hurricane is gaining strength and has reached speeds of up to 110 mph and fears are growing as it’s on course to strike the popular cruise port island Cozumel, before heading over to one of Mexico’s top tourist destinations, Cancun.
Reports from State tourism director Juan Carlos Gonzalez Hernandez confirm there are around 83,000 tourists in the area, with some 45,000 along the south coast stretch of beaches which include hotspots Tulum and Playa del Carmen where the ferries depart for Cozumel. Approximately 28,000 tourists are currently in Cancun although of the 1,700 or so tourists visiting Cozumel, most are already leaving their resorts and cutting their holidays short to avoid potential travel disruption.
Forecasters at the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami, Florida, say Rina looks likely to reach winds of 115mph, which would upgrade it to a Category 3 hurricane, bringing as much as 16 inches of rain over parts of the Yucatan Peninsula and emergency shelters are already being set up in certain areas while smaller fishing villages are also being evacuated. Hurricane trackers say Rina could be headed towards Cuba by the weekend if she continues to curve eastward although some are predicting south Florida will be hit instead.