120,000 Tourists Trapped in Hotels While 85mph Hurricane Grace Blazes Through Mexico

by Jennifer Shea

An 85-mph hurricane is gusting through Mexico. And it’s keeping 120,000 tourists trapped in their hotels and resorts.

Hurricane Grace has become a Category 1 hurricane since it tore through the Caribbean coast. And now it’s smashing into the Yucatan Peninsula. On Thursday morning, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel took a hit.

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Grace hit just south of Tulum at 4:45 a.m. Winds gusted up to 85 mph, The Sun reports.

Tourists Stuck As Hurricane Gathers Steam

At least 5,700 tourists in Tulum hid in shelters within their resorts or went to refuges provided by municipal authorities. In Quintana Roo, an untold number of tourists were evacuated from hotels that had no viable shelter from the hurricane.

By last week, hotels in the area were more than half full of tourists. But as Grace approached Mexico, flights were grounded, cruise ships sent back and sea crossings to local islands closed in preparation for the storm’s arrival.

Local government officials put out a red alert for the “highest risk” towns of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Tulum, Solidaridad, Puerto Morelos, Benito Juárez, Lázaro Cárdenas, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel.

Locals Face Grace’s Destruction

Meanwhile, area businesses had to close by 8 p.m. on Wednesday night. Officials also told them to stop selling alcohol, according to the Sun. (So much for the tourists’ vacation fun.)

In the wake of the hurricane, more than 180,500 people were without electricity. And the hurricane is not done. It is supposed to pass through the Gulf of Mexico region today after it’s done with the Yucatan Peninsula.

The hurricane will likely bring more heavy rain, strong winds and a thunderstorm surge. Up to 12 inches of rainfall are set to hit the affected areas. Forecasters say the hurricane will subside somewhat after it hits those vacation destinations. But then it will gather steam as it reaches the Gulf waters before making a second landfall in Mexico.

Grace has already made its way across Haiti. Nearly 2,000 people died in an earthquake there last Saturday.

Severe Weather Batters Southeastern U.S., Too

For its part, the southeastern U.S. has been grappling with serious flooding after Tropical Storm Fred blew through. The Biden administration declared a state of emergency in Florida as a result of the floods.

Fred then made its way up the coast. It hit North Carolina and Philadelphia. At least 35 people were missing after it swept through.

Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County and Philadelphia County all saw tornado warnings in Fred’s wake. Moreover, flash flood watches took effect from upstate New York to West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky.