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#207339 - 07/16/05 11:28 PM Emily and her affect on other countries
Marty Offline
Tourists flee Mexico's Cancun as Emily roars closer
16 Jul 2005 21:00:58 GMT

Source: Reuters

By Anahi Rama

CANCUN, Mexico, July 16 (Reuters) - Hundreds of glum-faced sun-seekers abandoned the palm-fringed Caribbean beaches around Cancun, Mexico, on Saturday, and local fishermen fled for cover as powerful Hurricane Emily headed toward the coast.

A violent Category 4 hurricane packing winds of 155 mph (250 kph), Emily was expected to hit Mexico's Yucatan peninsula -- one of the world's most popular vacation spots -- late on Sunday after tearing past southern Jamaica on Saturday.

Emily's power put it on the verge of blowing into a rare Category 5 storm on the five-step scale of hurricane intensity, one capable of destroying buildings in the hours ahead.

As the government issued a hurricane warning all down the Yucatan coast, tourists were brought in from holiday islands, shops and bars boarded up their windows and many foreigners cut short their holidays and flew home.

"We had planned to leave Cancun on Tuesday or Wednesday but we're leaving right now," said American accountant Ben Morras, 32, heading back to Seattle with his girlfriend.

"We didn't know there was a hurricane coming when we arrived and we're a little scared," he said.

Officials said emergency services and thousands of troops were on standby for evacuation or rescue drills and all down the coast schools and sports centers were being converted into emergency shelters with space for tens of thousands of people.

Anxious locals piled into supermarkets after local radio advised stocking up on canned food and water. Motorists lined up for extra fuel, fearing a disruption to supplies.

With forecasters warning Emily could blow into a terrifying Category 5 hurricane as it roared toward Mexico, locals feared a repeat of Hurricane Gilberto, which tore up Cancun and Isla Mujeres in 1988, razing homes and leaving beaches scarred.

The worst hurricane to hit Mexico since then was Isidore, which washed away beach huts, cut off power and destroyed swathes of jungle and mangroves in the Yucatan in 2002.

CALM BEFORE STORM

As Emily howled past Jamaica, hammering the island with torrential rains and pounding surf, Cancun was still calm, with sunshine, a few clouds and a light breeze. Some locals had no idea a hurricane was approaching until reporters told them.

But fishing communities along the coast were already evacuated, and hundreds of tourists had been boated to the mainland from the tiny island of Isla Mujeres, a backpacker favorite, and the upmarket scuba-diving island of Cozumel.

Health authorities said they had prepared supplies of medicines to treat possible infections caused by flooding, as locals prepared to sit out the storm in shelters.

While the concrete hotels of Cancun and Playa del Carmen are sturdy enough to stand up to hurricane-force winds, many local resorts consist of flimsy cabanas, and thousands of Mexicans in the area live in ramshackle homes.

State oil monopoly Pemex, which has operations along the southern rim of the Gulf of Mexico, west of Yucatan, also was on the alert, with boats and helicopters ready to evacuate personnel if needed.

Pemex is the world's No. 9 exporter of crude oil with most of its exports going north to the United States. No shipments had been canceled as of Saturday, a spokeswoman said.

In tiny Belize, which borders the Yucatan peninsula to the south and is best known for its laid-back island holiday spots, the government issued a tropical storm watch.

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#207340 - 07/16/05 11:40 PM Re: Emily and her affect on other countries
Marty Offline
Jamaica Update - More than 2000 in shelter - Flooding in Trelawny
By ODPEM
Sat, 16 Jul 2005, 15:45

kingston, Jul 16, 2005 - 3:45 pm (ODPEM) - The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is reporting that there are approximately 2, 296 persons housed in shelters across the island. The ODPEM has also received reports of flooding in the parish of Trelawny as a result of the impact of Hurricane Emily.

Flooding has been reported in the following communities:

Bottom Town in Clarkes Town
Wakefield
Bunkers Hill
Jones Hole
Gravel Hill
Over 100 persons have been evacuated with the assistance of the Trelawny Parish Disaster Committee to the following shelters:

William Knibb High School
Campbell’s Church
Unity Primary School
Alps All Age School
Jackson Town All Age School
Cedric Titus High School
The ODPEM will provide further updates as the information becomes available.


Further information contact:

Sophia Mitchel
Information and Training Department
ODPEM
Tel: (876) 928-5111-4

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#207341 - 07/16/05 11:41 PM Re: Emily and her affect on other countries
Marty Offline
UNICEF Speeds supplies to Grenada
By UNICEF
Sat, 16 Jul 2005, 14:42

Bridgetown, Barbados 16 July 2005 - UNICEF supplies arrived in Grenada today as the island continues to deal with the after effects of Hurricane Emily which impacted the island, especially the dependencies of Petite Martinique and Carriacou, almost thirty six hours ago.

Five thousand water purification tablets, five hundred collapsible water containers with a capacity of 10 litres; ten thousand Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) tablets; ten emergency heath kits; one trauma kit and one refill for trauma kit and three survival kits with backpack were flown in today on a Red Cross aircraft to provide relief for persons affected by the Hurricane.

“The most difficult thing is that Grenadians are still in the process of recovering from Hurricane Ivan, which devastated the country almost ten months ago,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, who is presently in Grenada assessing the needs of children.

Reports confirm that one person in Grenada died as a result of the Hurricane and further, that Emily has caused an estimated $US110 million in damage and that the agriculture sector and housing are the main areas affected. 120 homes have been completely destroyed, 2240 homes have lost their roofs and to date 1650 are still residing in shelters across the island. The most required needs at present are plastic sheeting to cover roofs, building materials, foods and rafter straps.

UNICEF is focusing on ensuring that children’s lives return to some sense of normalcy as soon as possible and following a request from the Ministry of Social Development yesterday, the Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean will be implementing the Return to Happiness programme in Carriacou and Petite Martinique, in collaboration with other partners, in order to provide the necessary psycho-social support for all children affected by the Hurricane.

For further information, please contact:

Lisa McClean, UNICEF Barbados and Eastern Caribbean, Tel: ++ 246 467 6157 e-mail: lmccleantrotman@unicef.org


Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Tel ++ 246 467615 e-mail: jgough@unicef.org

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#207342 - 07/16/05 11:42 PM Re: Emily and her affect on other countries
Marty Offline
Cayman Islanders urged to remain vigilant
By NHC
Sat, 16 Jul 2005, 12:16

Key Message: While Hurricane Emily is continuing along its projected WNW path, the storm is of major Category 4 intensity and could intensify further. The National Hurricane Committee advises residents to continue hurricane preparations since any deviation from the present course will put Grand Cayman in hurricane force winds.

On its current path, the closest point of approach to Grand Cayman from Emily’s centre will be 90 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman, at about 4:00AM on Sunday. At this point, winds are forecast to be around 65 mph, with higher gusts. This is equivalent to minimal tropical storm conditions.

The Meteorological Service forecasts that Grand Cayman will begin experiencing cloudy conditions from late afternoon/early evening, progressing into showers and a number of squalls, lasting through tomorrow. Tropical storm force winds will be felt from just before midnight until early Sunday morning (8:00/9:00am).

Emily is expected to continue on its west-northwest track and to maintain its speed for the next 24 hours. Wind direction will be out of the ENE initially, veering to ESE by early Sunday morning. The south side of Grand Cayman can expect to experience dangerous waves of 9-12 feet or higher, while rainfall of between 3-8 inches is expected and may lead to some flooding in low-lying areas. Storm surge of 2-4 feet, particularly on the southern coast, may contribute to flooding.

The Sister Islands are not forecast to experience any tropical storm force winds, but can also expect showers, squalls, gusty winds and rough seas—also accompanied by waves of 8-10 feet.

NHC advice to local population: The NHC continues to urge all interests to closely monitor news reports. Residents and businesses should be prepared for inclement weather beginning late afternoon/early evening Saturday and all hurricane preparations should be completed urgently.

NHC actions:

Shelters:

All shelters on Grand Cayman, except East End Primary School, will be open from 1pm Saturday.

Curfew:

The NHC and the RCIP are considering a curfew for Grand Cayman. The decision will be announced after this afternoon’s 4:30 NHC meeting. Meanwhile all residents should be inside their homes for their own safety and security before tropical storm force winds begin affecting the island. Owners of restaurants and licensed premises should prepare to close early tonight in anticipation of the curfew and to ensure that their employees are home safely before 11pm.

Owen Roberts International Airport:

Will close at 7pm tonight (Saturday) and will reopen after the All Clear has been issued. The Gerard Smith Airport on Cayman Brac will remain open as normal until 9:00 pm.

Details of Weather System at 11:00 AM, Saturday:

Longitude: 77.3 West
Latitude: 16.2 North
Speed of system and direction of movement: Moving WNW, near 18 MPH, and this motion is expected to continue over the next 24 hours
Maximum sustained wind speed: Near 145mph with higher gusts
Size of system: Hurricane force winds extend out 70 miles from the centre, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles.
Position: 130 miles SSW of Kingston, 335 miles SE of Grand Cayman, 293 SSE of Cayman Brac

Further information:

The NHC will be monitoring the situation closely and will meet again at 4:30pm today, 16 July, to further assess the risk of the system on the Cayman Islands.

Background:

The following Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale provides some rough guidance on what to expect for each category:

Category 1 74-95 mph, storm surge of 4-5ft.
Category 2 96-110 mph, 6-8 ft.
Category 3 111-130 mph, 9-12 ft.
Category 4 131-155 mph, 13-18 ft.
Category 5 greater than 155 mph, 18+ft.

Storm Advisories

Cayman’s National Hurricane Committee issues a series of advisories when a tropical storm or hurricane enters the area.

Watch: a tropical storm or hurricane could strike within 36 hours.

Warning: a tropical storm or hurricane could strike within 24 hours. It remains in effect until the storm has passed or is no longer a threat

All Clear: This means the storm is no longer a threat, but residents know that this doesn’t mean the danger is past. If a “Proclamation of Emergency” has been issued, an “All Clear” does not affect this proclamation.

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#207343 - 07/16/05 11:44 PM Re: Emily and her affect on other countries
Marty Offline
Emily leaves 167 families homeless in Grenada and 2,641 roofs damaged
By NaDMA
Fri, 15 Jul 2005, 21:38

Situation Report #6

A debriefing session was held by the National Disaster Coordinator with all District Coordinators. A full report was given by the Coordinator. The under-mentioned reflects their preliminary assessment. A coordination meeting with all stakeholders will be held tomorrow to assess the levels of response of recovery activities.




NUMBER OF ROOFS DAMAGED BY PARISH

St. George’s
285

St. Andrew’s
1153

St. Patrick’s
499

St. David’s
126

St. John’s
151

St. Mark’s
77

Carriacou & Petit Martinique
350

TOTAL
2641




Homeless Families
Original # of persons in shelters
People currently in shelters

St. George’s
8
1192
72

St. Andrew’s
87
2521
279

St. Patrick’s
50
238
178

St. David’s
10
10
18

St. John’s
2
195
75

St. Mark’s
10
125
50

Carriacou & Petit Martinique
N/A
N/A
N/A

TOTAL 167 4,281 672

PRIORITY NEEDS LIST

- Tarpaulins
- Roofing material
- Food stuff
- Water cans/bottles
- Water tanks (for shelters)
- Basic household items eg. Mattress, beds, cookers, utensils

Coordinator
National Disaster Management Agency
Grenada

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#207344 - 07/17/05 10:07 AM Re: Emily and her affect on other countries
Marty Offline
Cayman Islands - Emily a major threat to south coast
By NHC
Sat, 16 Jul 2005, 18:11

Key Message: All residents of Grand Cayman should have completed their preparations for Hurricane Emily by this time and should be where they intend to ride out the storm. If not, the NHC is urging you to finish preparations as a matter of urgency.

Residents of the southern coasts and flood-prone areas of Grand Cayman in particular are urged to secure their homes and move to a safer location either with family or friends, or in a public shelter.

Battering waves of up to 12 feet can be expected along the southern coast including East End, Bodden Town, Spotts and South Sound overnight, while some beach erosion is anticipated along Seven Mile Beach and the northwest point area of West Bay. While storm surge is not expected to be a major factor, it could add to the flooding potential along the southern coast. Rainfall of up to three inches is still expected and this could add even further to the likelihood of flooding of low-laying areas.

The NHC is reminding residents of these areas that the main roads in the districts are along the coast and could become impassible as the night wears on. In addition, it is expected that the RCIP will announce a curfew for tonight. People therefore need to get off the roads as quickly as possible.

All shelters except the East End Primary School are open and residents have already begun to go there.

Tropical storm force winds are expected to commence at 10-11 o’clock tonight.

NHC Chairman Donovan Ebanks, wants the public to know that emergency rescue crews will not be able to venture out to respond to calls for assistance once tropical storm force winds begin as their own lives would be endangered. People must ensure that they are in the safest location possible before the onset of tropical storm force winds.

On its current path, the closest point of approach to Grand Cayman from Emily’s centre will be 96 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman, at about 4:00AM on Sunday. At this point, winds are forecast to be around 64 mph, with higher gusts reaching upwards of 70mph (minimal Category 1).

The Sister Islands are not forecast to experience any tropical storm force winds, but can also expect showers, squalls, gusty winds and rough seas—also accompanied by waves of 8-10 feet.

NHC advice to local population: The NHC continues to urge all interests to closely monitor news reports.

Utilities: In addition to hastening remaining preparations, residents should be aware that the Water Authority will be shutting down the water distribution network at 8 p.m. Water supply will not return until tomorrow when the system has passed and checks to the water mains have been made. The Cayman Water Company will remain in operation for as long as possible, as will CUC. Residents in areas supplied by the Water Authority should ensure they store water to last at least through tomorrow.

NHC actions:

Shelters:

All shelters on Grand Cayman, except East End Primary School, are open.

Owen Roberts International Airport:

Will close at 7pm tonight (Saturday) and will reopen after the All Clear has been issued. The Gerard Smith Airport on Cayman Brac will remain open as normal until 9:00p.

Details of Weather System at 4:00PM, Saturday:

Longitude: 78.8 West

Latitude: 16.8 North

Speed of system and direction of movement: Moving WNW, near 18 MPH, and this motion is expected to continue over the next 24 hours

Maximum sustained wind speed: Near 155mph with higher gusts

Size of system: Hurricane force winds extend out 60 miles from the centre, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles.

Position: 138 miles SSE of Montego Bay

235 miles SSE of Grand Cayman

212 SSE of Cayman Brac

Emily is expected to continue on its west-northwest track and to maintain its speed for the next 24 hours. Wind direction will be out of the ENE initially, veering to ESE by early Sunday morning. The south side of Grand Cayman can expect to experience dangerous waves of 9-12 feet or higher, while rainfall of around 3 inches is expected and may lead to some flooding in low-lying areas.

The Meteorological Service forecasts that Grand Cayman will begin experiencing cloudy conditions from late afternoon/early evening, progressing into showers and a number of squalls, lasting through tomorrow. Tropical storm force winds will be felt from just before midnight until mid-morning (10:00/11:00AM) on Sunday.

Further information:

The NHC’s Emergency Operation Centre will be activated this evening at 8:00PM and will be closely monitoring developments throughout the night. Residents should stay tuned to local media for further updates.

Background:

The following Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale provides some rough guidance on what to expect for each category:

Category 1 74-95 mph, storm surge of 4-5ft.
Category 2 96-110 mph, 6-8 ft.
Category 3 111-130 mph, 9-12 ft.
Category 4 131-155 mph, 13-18 ft.
Category 5 greater than 155 mph, 18+ft.

Storm Advisories

Cayman’s National Hurricane Committee issues a series of advisories when a tropical storm or hurricane enters the area.

Watch: a tropical storm or hurricane could strike within 36 hours.

Warning: a tropical storm or hurricane could strike within 24 hours. It remains in effect until the storm has passed or is no longer a threat

All Clear: This means the storm is no longer a threat, but residents know that this doesn’t mean the danger is past. If a “Proclamation of Emergency” has been issued, an “All Clear” does not affect this proclamation.

CONTACT INFORMATION

NHC Media Centre: 949-8092, 946-3333

Website: http://www.gov.ky

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#207345 - 07/17/05 08:08 PM Re: Emily and her affect on other countries
Marty Offline
Mexico evacuates tourists before hurricane

MARK STEVENSON
Associated Press

CANCUN, Mexico - A massive evacuation of tourists in one of the world's largest resorts began Sunday, with hundreds of buses dispatched to move tens of thousands of vacationers away from Hurricane Emily, heading for a direct hit on Mexico's coast.

The size of the task was daunting: About 500 buses were ordered to move 30,000 tourists in Cancun - part of a total of 70,000-80,000 mostly foreign visitors to be evacuated statewide to temporary shelters in ballrooms and convention centers.

"We have very little hope that this will change course," said a grim-faced Cancun Mayor Francisco Alor. "This hurricane is coming with the same force as Gilbert," a legendary hurricane that killed 300 people in Mexico and the Caribbean in 1988.

That was the last time Cancun faced a mass evacuation. But back then, the city and surrounding resort areas were fairly new and had only about 8,000 hotel rooms; that number has since grown to more than 50,000.

By 8 a.m. EDT Sunday, Emily was located about 305 miles east-southeast of Cozumel, and was moving toward the island at about 20 mph, with sustained winds of nearly 150 mph. The eye of the storm was expected to make landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula late Sunday or early Monday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Along the narrow spit of land that holds most of Cancun's palatial hotels, workers scrambled to board up businesses and remove traffic lights along the eight-mile main strip, to keep them from becoming wind-borne projectiles when the hurricane hit.

"This hurricane isn't going to take Cancun away from us," Alor vowed.

Some three dozen of the city's largest, strongest hotels were putting rows of beds in windowless meeting halls and ballrooms to shelter those evacuated from smaller hotels and exposed beach-side rooms.

On the island of Cozumel, just south of Cancun, tourists were moved away from beachside hotels to ones closer to the center of the island, which may lie almost directly in the path of the Category 4 storm.

An estimated 18,000 travelers streamed out of the Cancun airport Saturday in advance of the storm, and the terminal may close Sunday as the hurricane draws closer. Some flights to Cancun already have been canceled.

Improvised shelters were prepared at about 170 schools and community centers to hold local residents who may be forced to flee their homes. Authorities said they had enough food ready to feed 60,000-70,000 people.

Mexico also launched a large-scale evacuation of offshore oil platforms, ordering 15,000 workers off rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and leaving less than 1,000 attendants behind. The state-owned Pemex oil company said the move included closing 63 wells and halting the production of 480,000 barrels of oil per day.

Emily is expected to cross over the Yucatan peninsula and re-emerge in the gulf Monday. The hurricane is then expected to cross the gulf and hit Mexico again - this time near the U.S. border - later in the week.

On its passage through the Caribbean, Emily's winds ravaged hundreds of homes on the island of Grenada, destroyed crops and killed at least one man whose home was buried under a landslide.

As the storm passed near Jamaica Saturday night, howling wind gusts kicked up waves 8 feet tall and bent palm trees in Kingston, the capital. Torrential rains drenched parts of Jamaica's south coast and spread over the Cayman Islands.

Downed utility poles and piles of storm debris blocked the seaside highway to Kingston's international airport early Sunday. There were no reports of injuries.

"Mercifully, Jamaica was spared the worst," Land and Environment Minister Dean Peart said.

Hurricane center meteorologist Dave Roberts said Emily was the strongest storm to form this early in the Atlantic season since record-keeping began in 1860.

Authorities already evacuated some tourists from the mainland resorts of Tulum and Playa de Carmen, also south of Cancun, in some cases sending them as far away as Valladolid, a Yucatan city 100 miles inland.

About 1,800 people were evacuated from the islands of Contoy and Holbox, just off the coast.

Farther south, the government of Belize issued a tropical storm watch for the coast from Belize City northward to the Mexico border. In the capital, boats were being tied down or taken up river.

About 70 percent of the tourists being relocated in Mexico are foreigners; the evacuees will be given free food and lodging at shelters in convention centers or ballrooms, said Jesus Almaguer, president of the Cancun Hotel Association.

"It would be inhuman to charge them," he said.

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#207346 - 07/18/05 04:06 AM Re: Emily and her affect on other countries
Marty Offline
here's a website to watch tomorrow and tonight...

http://www.sureste.com/

and
http://playamayanews.com/

Hurricane Emily Roars Across Yucatan

By MARK STEVENSON
The Associated Press
Monday, July 18, 2005; 7:16 PM


PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico -- Hurricane Emily ripped roofs off luxury hotels along Mexico's Mayan Riviera, stranded thousands of tourists and left hundreds of local residents homeless Monday, forcing many to remain in crowded, leaky shelters.

Residents of Yucatan Peninsula resorts, including Playa del Carmen and Tulum, began wading through knee-deep flood waters to assess damage under a light drizzle, as the storm barreled west into the Gulf of Mexico.

There were no immediate reports of death or serious injuries on the peninsula, but Emily was expected to regain strength and threaten Mexican oil rigs before slamming into northeast Mexico or southern Texas as early as Tuesday night.

From the port of Tampico to the southern Texas coastline, residents boarded up windows and evacuated low-lying areas. Mexico's state-run oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, evacuated 15,000 oil workers from rigs in the storm's path.

The worst damage on the Yucatan Peninsula was in Puerto Aventuras, where the storm's eye came ashore some 60 miles south of the resort of Cancun and in Tulum, a collection of thatched hut hotels along a secluded strip of beach that is popular with backpackers.

Sitting in the roofless, rain-soaked lobby of the Copacabana Hotel near Puerto Aventuras, Samuel Norrod, of Livingston, Tenn., waited to hear if his travel agent could get flights home for him, his wife and his 13-year-old granddaughter.

They rode out the storm in the hotel's ballroom.

"We could hear the windows smashing out. The wind would get loud, and then it would get soft again. And then, for about 25 minutes, it got real still," Norrod said, describing the calm eye of the hurricane.

Nearby, Remigio Kamul, 21, surveyed the remains of his family's collection of five shacks. Only a brick room remained standing.

"We just want to have a roof over our heads again," he said.

The large family crowded into the brick room during the storm.

"The children were crying," said Kamul's mother, 46-year-old Maria Concepciona. "We were hugging each other. The door was banging in the wind."

Tourists who spent the night in makeshift shelters emerged to try to find ways home. Many went to the Cancun airport, which reopened Monday after closing Sunday afternoon when the storm hit.

"All night long, cold water was pouring in through the holes in the wall," said tourist Graham Brighton, of Leicester, England, one of about 1,000 people who spent the night on thin foam pads lined up on a gymnasium floor in Cancun. "There were just far too many people crammed into one space."

Quintana Roo state officials reported little damage to the ancient pyramids in Tulum or elsewhere, but a team of archaeologists was to inspect sites throughout the state. Tulum's streets were deserted Monday and the village was without electricity, according to officials reached by telephone.

But damage from the hurricane was evident everywhere on the eastern Yucatan's Mayan Riviera, famous for its white-sand beaches and turquoise waters.

Power was knocked out all along the coast. The wind snapped concrete utility poles in two along a half-mile stretch of highway between Playa del Carmen and Cancun to the north. Plate glass windows were shattered on the ground floors of numerous businesses in Playa del Carmen, while residents waded through knee-deep water flooding some streets.

All hotels in Quintana Roo state not severely damaged were expected to reopen their doors again sometime Monday, officials from the state's hotel association said.

About 60,000 tourists were evacuated from Cancun, Tulum, Playa de Carmen and Cozumel, an island just south of Cancun known for its diving.

Emily hit Mexico after sweeping across the Caribbean, causing flooding that killed a family of four in Jamaica but sparing the Cayman Islands major damage.

The hurricane's wind speeds soared to as much as 135 mph, making it a fierce Category 4 storm when it slammed into the Yucatan's east coast Sunday. It weakened to Category 2 as it passed over the peninsula early Monday with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.

Emily's center eventually churned into the cooler waters north of the peninsula, weakening it further throughout the day. It was a Category 1 storm by evening, with sustained winds of 75 mph 120 kph. But forecasters expected it to regain force and hit the northeastern Mexican coast "as a major hurricane," as early as Tuesday night, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

A hurricane watch was issued from Cabo Rojo, Mexico, along the Gulf coast, northward to Baffin Bay, Texas.

Troops and emergency officials began evacuating the fishing town of La Pesca, close to the hurricane's projected impact zone, said Joel Arrellano Ochoa, operator of the Hotel Rivera del Rio _ one of a small group of local hotels.

Mexico's two main crude oil loading ports in the Gulf, Dos Bocas and Cayo Arcas, were closed and Pemex evacuated its Bay of Campeche oil rigs, shutting down offshore production as the hurricane approached.

Pemex's offshore operations in the area account for about two-thirds of the company's 3.4 million barrels a day of crude oil production.

The company reported Sunday that one of 26 helicopters being used for the evacuation crashed while trying to land on a platform in high winds, killing the pilot and co-pilot.

___

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