Hurricane Delta rapidly intensified last night into a dangerous Category 4 storm while on a course to hammer Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and then continue on to the US Gulf Coast in a few days.
The heavy rains and strong winds caused some infrastructure damage, the National Meteorological Service(SMN)said.
According to the SMN, Delta hit the beach town of Puerto Morelos at 5:30 a.m. local time(1030 GMT), just south of the renowned tourist resort of Cancun, with maximum sustained winds of 165 kilometres per hour and gusts of 200 kph.
The storm’s maximum sustained winds were clocked at 130 mph(215 kph)late Tuesday, slightly weakened from a peak of 145 mph(230 kph)a few hours earlier, but forecasters warned it remained a dangerously powerful storm.
Thousands of people were evacuated from the hotel zone in Cancun on Tuesday, as well as other resorts, such as Isla Mujeres, Cozumel island and Punta Allen.
The nation's armed forces have deployed more than 5700 soldiers in northern Quintana Roo and the neighboring state of Yucatan to aid locals in dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane.
The Mexican government reported that as of 7 a.m. local time(1200 GMT), Delta had knocked over some power lines, signposts and trees, mainly in Cancun and Cozumel.
Delta was expected to head north toward the Gulf of Mexico in the afternoon on a trajectory to the southeast coast of the United States.
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