Cancun, Mexico, Oct 26 (efe-epa).- Mexico’s Caribbean coast on Monday was placed on red alert with the approach of Tropical Storm Zeta, which according to all forecasts will make landfall in the coming hours as a hurricane.
With the red alert, which is in effect for the northern portion of Mexico’s Quintana Roo state, all work activities have been suspended and the most vulnerable zones along the coast have been evacuated and economic restrictions put into effect.
At least 56 municipalities in the neighboring state of Yucatan have been placed on orange alert (significant danger) and 47 are on yellow alert (moderate danger), given the anticipated track of Zeta, which will cross the Yucatan Peninsula from the Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico and then is expected to head northwards toward the US Gulf Coast.
Zeta is the third big storm to affect the Mexican Caribbean coastline in less than a month after the passage of Tropical Storm Gamma on Oct. 3 and Hurricane Delta four days later.
Mexican authorities have evacuated the fishing communities of Punta Allen, Isla Maria Elena and Punta Herrero, as well as the Banco Chinchorro atoll, all in Quintana Roo.
At present, authorities have said that it is necessary to evacuate the hotels and tourist areas in the region, where an estimated 60,000 tourists are staying.
In the seaside resort community of Cancun, activities prior to the arrival of Zeta are focusing on clearing the streets of trash and other objects that could become projectiles in heavy winds and on going through at-risk zones.
Luis Manuel Cardenas Diaz, the coordinator of Citizen Action for the Benito Juarez City Hall, confirmed that in recent days more than 1,800 tons of branches and trees downed by Delta have been cleared away.
Along the streets of the city and in the hotel district one can still see large piles of trash and vegetation that have not been removed, according to what EFE noted on a tour of the area.
The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) reported that several squadrons of workers from the neighboring state of Campeche are being dispatched to Quintana Roo with the task of remaining ready to help with recovery efforts after the storm.
The Marine Secretariat reported that area ports will remain closed to vessels of less than 40 feet and maritime transport between Cancun and Isla Mujeres will be suspended when weather conditions no longer permit it.