What to do during a hurricane in Cancun? This is a frequently asked question that often concerns travelers. Don’t worry! Here we will share some important information.
Fortunately, hurricanes don’t just appear from nowhere from one minute to another. These storms form within several days. Around five days before the tropical storm is formed, local government and civil protection authorities start informing the population about the situation, and they provide updates continuously. It is also important to mention that thanks to the islands and coral reefs located in front of this popular tourist destination, Cancun is hardly hit by a strong hurricane.
Cancun is the most important tourist destination in Mexico, and there are excellent protocols and contingency plans in place regarding these natural hazards. Also, the kind and warm personality that characterizes the Mexican people working at the hotels is crucial in the remarkable execution of these protocols and the outstanding short time they take to restore the hotels and attractions to keep up and running the whole city after a storm.
If you can remember, in 2005, Cancun was hit by the super hurricane Wilma. Fortunately, during this category 5-hurricane, all the tourists in the area were kept safe and zero tourist deaths were reported. This experience has helped the locals and tourism sector to execute all the hurricane protocols even better.
What to do during a hurricane in Cancun?
First of all, calm down and follow all the instructions given by your hotel staff, and trust them. Remember that most of them were born here and have the experience to take care of you. Besides, the government provides all the tourism sector with great information and courses on how to execute the hurricane protocols and contingency plans. The hotels’ staff knows exactly what to do.
You also have to be informed. We recommend that you follow official social media accounts as NOAA and the local authorities such as Protección Civil Cancún for directions and the latest updates. The local authorities will share important information, and they will announce the current Alert Level of the Early Warning System for Tropical Cyclones (SIAT CT).
What is the Early Warning System for Tropical Cyclones?
The Early Warning System for Tropical Cyclones (SIAT CT) is a mechanism of alert and coordination that quantitatively generates an organized and immediate response to the community’s urgent needs before a natural disaster is imminent or has already occurred.
This system has five alert levels that you must identify to know what to do:
EARLY WARNING SYSTEM FOR TROPICAL CYCLONES
• Stay informed
• You must stay informed • Learn about tropical cyclones and the measures to be taken.
• Pay close attention to official information • Know the location of temporary shelters • The staff will start disassembling all the beach and pool furniture • On the high seas, islands, and marine oil installations, comply with navigation instructions and Civil Protection • Respect the beach flag warnings. Red means high hazard. • Be prepared for a possible evacuation. Your hotel staff will inform you if you will be transferred to another hotel or shelter at a safer location. Or you can choose to fly back home • Take self-protection measures. You will be asked to prepare a small bag or suitcase with some clothes, external batteries, your medicine, diapers, passport and important documents in a plastic bag, etc. All the essential things for a couple of days.
• Evacuate at-risk areas • Follow instructions from the authorities and hotel staff • Suspend maritime navigation activities • All the marine and coastal recreational activities are suspended
RED EFFECTS PRESENT
• Seek immediate shelter and stay inside. Don’t go out until authorities announce it is safe. • Follow the instructions of the authorities and hotel staff
According to The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, hurricanes are rated from 1 to 5 based on their maximum sustained wind speed. Hurricanes rated Category 3 and higher are known as major hurricanes.
Not all hurricanes are devastating. Some of them will only look like heavy rain, and probably you will only be asked to remain inside the hotel. Many hotels have great indoor activities and entertainment staff that will make the time more enjoyable.
As we mentioned before, Cancun is located in a great spot with natural barriers like islands and coral reefs that protect the city from cyclones. That is why Cancun is hardly hit by a major hurricane.
What to do during a hurricane in Cancun?
Before traveling during hurricane season
Keep in mind that the hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30. The most active months of the season are September and October.
It is a good idea to purchase travel insurance when you book a vacation during hurricane season. The insurance can cover a lot of essentials. Suppose you experience a covered trip cancellation or interruption due to severe weather. In that case, travel insurance may reimburse you for non-refundable, pre-paid costs, plus the extra cost of flying home early. Or, if your journey home is delayed, it may also refund the cost of a hotel room, meals, or other essentials. And if you’re injured in a storm, travel insurance can provide emergency medical benefits, as well as emergency medical transportation benefits. *Check your insurance policy for all the specifications.
Remember to pack your medicine, external batteries to charge your devices in case of a power shortage, and bring your important documentation as passports in a plastic bag.
Vacationing during a hurricane in Cancun
Stay informed and listen to the instructions of your hotel staff. Also follow social media accounts of local authorities:
Be careful with the flags around the seashore. Avoid getting into the sea if there are red flags.
The Alert Levels are different from the categories of a hurricane. An orange or red alert doesn’t mean that a super hurricane is going to hit us. Even if we are already on the Orange Alert, the cyclone may weaken or move and go away. The Early Warning System is a way to keep the community in a state of preparedness.
Depending on the hurricane category and the location or characteristics of your hotel, authorities may move you to a temporary shelter. Every hotel in the area is assigned to a shelter in a safer place; it may be another hotel, a convention center, or a school downtown. If your hotel is secure enough, it may be a shelter for some other hotels. Staff will provide all the necessary for you to be in a clean and safe place. They will also give you food, and in some cases, the staff will organize some fun activities.
IDENTIYING THE FIVE ALERT LEVELS
Between the Blue and Green alerts, your hotel staff will inform you if they need to evacuate the hotel. Staff will tell you exactly where is the shelter and will give you some instructions. In case you don’t want to stay at the shelter and decide to leave, they can help you to book your transportation back home or to other state in Mexico; depending on the weather conditions and the availability of airlines or ground transportation.
Follow all the instructions about your personal belongings. They probably will ask you to take with you a small suitcase or backpack with a couple of changes of clothes, external batteries, medicine, passport and important documentation in a plastic bag, etc.
During the hurricane, you will hear how the wind howls and some objects will fly away, so it is very important to stay in the shelter and keep away from all the windows.
Please be patient and follow all the instructions. The hurricane could last several hours, and there would probably be a power shortage, so please charge your phones and bring external batteries if you can.
Don´t worry if you notice that the staff is leaving some windows a little bit open. It is normal and accurate. They do this to relieve the pressure of the wind force. Just keep away from the windows and don’t try to look through them.
The hurricane will last some hours, and then the calm will make you think that everything has finished, but this may be only the eye of the hurricane, so don’t go out because it will start again at any minute.
After the storm
After the storm, the staff will let you know if it is safe to go back to your hotel or room. If not, you will have to be patient and stay more time at the shelter.
When people are allowed to go out, you will see many locals cleaning the streets and hotels to restore the city as soon as possible. It is incredible how these people gather together to start working and repairing everything, helping one another.
The local authorities and staff will try their best to keep you safe and comfortable; however, they cannot control how long you will need to be at the temporary shelter. It all depends on the damages caused by the hurricane, and it will take less or more time to reactivate some services, roads, or accommodations. Please be patient and comprehensive. You will be back at your hotel or home as soon as it is safe and possible.