Hurricane Grace made landfall in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region early Thursday (Aug. 19), thrusting heavy rains and strong winds across the Caribbean coast and greater Yucatan Peninsula.
The Category 1 storm, which has already struck Haiti, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, struck just south of Tulum (which is home to several ancient Mayan temples) at 4:45 a.m. CDT with sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kmh), reports the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Though showing some signs of weakening, Grace remained a hurricane as it barrelled west towards Valladolid.
Playa del Carmen, just north of where Grace made landfall, encountered some local damage, reports the Associated Press, which described the streets as being “littered with tree branches.”
Power outages were also reported, impacting some 84,000 customers in Cancun and 65,000 in Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Puerto Aventura and Tulum, the AP reports.
The storm is expected to continue through the Yucatan on Thursday and weaken back into tropical storm before it emerges over the southern Gulf of Mexico by Thursday night, the Weather Network reports.
However, forecasters anticipate that Grace will strengthen back into a hurricane on Friday (Aug. 20) before making landfall in the Mexican state of Veracruz.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism in the region is still thriving as state authorities, last week, noted how there were some 130,000 tourists visiting the region with hotels being more than half full.