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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Hurricane Emily hits Mexico coast
Damage in Mexican resort of Cancun
Emily whipped up waves in the popular resort of Cancun
Hurricane Emily has lashed the Yucatan peninsula on Mexico's Caribbean coast.

Strong winds have felled trees, flooded streets and knocked out power and telephone lines in areas along the coastline popular with tourists.

Emily passed 160km (100 miles) to the south of Jamaica, but left at least four dead after rains caused flooding.

The storm weakened as it moved towards the Gulf of Mexico, but forecasters say Emily could strengthen before reaching Mexico's north-east coast.

Oil rigs have been evacuated and production suspended.

Two pilots died in the Gulf of Mexico when their helicopter crashed during an evacuation of a rig.

Mass evacuation

The second major storm of the season hit Mexico's coast as a category four hurricane - the second highest on the scale of intensity - with winds of 215km/h (135mph).

Satellite image shows Hurricane Emily about 45 miles east-southeast of Grenada, as the storm approaches the island

The US-based National Hurricane Center said the storm made landfall just north of Tulum at 0230 on Monday (0630 GMT), with the eye of the storm passing over the island of Cozumel.

The resort city of Playa del Carmen was also among the most affected areas.

Tens of thousands of tourists and locals were evacuated from the region before Emily's arrival.

About 30,000 tourists were moved inland to better-protected hotels, or packed into emergency shelters in community centres and schools.

Cancun's international airport was closed.

Jamaica battered

Emily is expected to make landfall again in north-eastern Mexico or southern Texas, on Tuesday night.

Jamaica was spared a direct hit, but the island still suffered flooding and landslides. About 70,000 households lost power and several homes and roads were washed away.

The bodies of a man, woman and two children were found inside a car swept over a cliff by flood water, Jamaican police said.

The Cayman Islands also felt the force of the storm early on Sunday.

Last week, Emily battered the eastern Caribbean island of Grenada, leaving one person dead.

Emily comes less than a week after Hurricane Dennis caused more than two dozen deaths as it rampaged through Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba and Florida.

Map


Have you been affected by Hurricane Emily? Send us your experiences using the form below. If you have any pictures of the hurricane's impact you can send them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

We had been vacationing in the Riviera Maya before it was evacuated. I just read a news report that the roof of the hotel lobby had blown off and windows had been shattered. We are so sad about the destruction of this beautiful place that we had just enjoyed so much. We are praying for the people of Mexico.
Nicole, Russell, KY

By this weekend it seems it will be business as usual
Mark Temple, Houston, TX
My girlfriend and I are leaving for Cancun this Saturday for a week. I called the hotel where we are staying and spoke to the manager. He said everything was getting back to normal, most power had been restored and by this weekend it seems it will be business as usual.
Mark Temple, Houston, TX

I was in the resort strip of Playa del Carmen as of Saturday night, but luckily was able to leave before the airport shutdown. Before I left, the entire resort area and town was preparing, boarding up windows, evacuating the area. There were the beginnings of a storm taking place and waves were extremely choppy compared to the normal there.
Ben Kelso, Toronto, Canada

I returned from Mexico on Saturday morning. Nineteen of my friends are still out there. Having spoken to them, most of them have been put up into gymnasiums or colleges. As far as I am aware, everyone is okay but are frightened by the experience.
Phil, London

My girlfriend is staying at a Spanish school near Cancun. She sat the storm out in the school house with about 8 other students. She said it was very loud and scary, but they were all fine, except for the loss of all but one TV channel.
Paul C Dunn, London

We have been taking it pretty calmly. Even though others have been preparing by taping up windows, buying water, etc, my family has been going on with life quite normally. I even went swimming today. There are rumours that the local schools may be opened up as public shelters, should the need arise.
Rene Hinojosa, Alice, Texas

By Saturday night a curfew had been declared and everyone was inside waiting
Elaine, George Town, Grand Cayman
We live in Grand Cayman. Having shuttered everything up for Dennis last week, it didn't take too long to do the same again for Emily this weekend. The shops were still chaotic though, perhaps because we thought we were more at risk from Emily. By Saturday night a curfew had been declared and everyone was inside waiting. The shelters had about 700 people in them. The 11 pm advisory on Saturday had us all worried as it said Emily would come closer. Luckily by 2 am Sunday Emily had changed course again. She passed within 98 miles of us - we had winds of about 45 mph and lots of rain but nothing major. Just as well - after Ivan the island would not survive another bad hurricane.
Elaine, George Town, Grand Cayman

My Godmother and her boyfriend are staying in the Marriott Hotel in Cancun. We phoned them yesterday before the storm, they were to be taken downstairs into the ballroom with all the other guests at about midnight their time, to wait out the storm. I hope she is OK. We are awaiting their txt message.
Rebecca Greaves, Tockwith, York, England

This year has been real hectic here in the Caribbean. Last year was incredible with four big hurricanes going through; this year we have narrowly avoided these latest five. We were hit hard by Hurricane Lenny in 2001, since then we are simply praying and keeping alert. These hurricanes are getting worse, and if global warming is true, then we are going to get more of these. We here in St Kitt's are as prepared as we are going to be. It seems that no amount of preparation, prepares for the emotional and mental shock of actually experiencing one of Nature's wonders and terrors.
Jason Graves, St Kitt's, West Indies (originally from the UK)

Stephen, my nephew, and his girlfriend Ellie are on holiday in Mexico and have been evacuated inland. They have only the clothes they were wearing and we have not heard anything from them for some time as they need to preserve the phone battery.
Stephen Saberton, Pymoor, Ely, Cambs, England

I live in Edinburg, about 60 miles west of Brownsville TX. We are getting worried that the path of Emily may come within 50 miles of Brownsville and we are braced for the threat of flooding rain, heavy winds and tornados. We have already bought bottled water, canned food and other supplies. The locals are pretty laid back about it, some were out mowing their lawns this morning and nobody on my street has boarded up their windows or taken any other visible precautions.
Brian Edwards, Edinburg, Texas, USA

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BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See scenes from the Mexican coast as Emily strikes




SEE ALSO:
Hurricane season set to be stormy
11 Jul 05 |  Science/Nature
Caribbean 'not ready for storms'
02 Jun 05 |  Americas


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