MEXICO CITY (NewsNation Now) — At least 6 people died and thousands were evacuated in southeastern Mexico after Tropical Storm Gamma lashed the Yucatan Peninsula’s resort-studded coast with near-hurricane force winds and drenched Tabasco and Chiapas states, authorities said Sunday.
Mexico’s civil defense agency said in a statement that four of the deaths, including two children, were in Chiapas, where a landslide on a mountainous slope buried their home. The other two deaths were in Tabasco state, where one person was dragged away by the water and another drowned.
As of 4 a.m. CDT Monday, Gamma had drifted southwest to just north of the Yucatan Peninsula, according to the National Hurricane Center. Mexican authorities continued to warn people in the Yucatan as Gamma remained stalled offshore. A tropical storm warning was in effect from north and west of Cancun to Dzilam Mexico as well as west of Dziliam to Campeche.
The NHC said Gamma could possibly move inland along the coast of the northwest coast of the Yucatan Peninsula Tuesday night. Heavy rainfall is expected which could lead to flashing flooding.
Gamma, along with cold fronts, combined over the weekend to cause extreme rains in parts of the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas, affecting more than half a million people. The hardest-hit state was Tabasco, where more than 3,400 were evacuated to shelters.
The storm came ashore Saturday near Tulum with maximum sustained winds of nearly 70 mph— 4 mph (9 kph short of hurricane force), according to the NHC.
The state’s tourism department reported Friday on Twitter that more than 41,000 tourists were present in Quintana Roo, with hotels in Cancun and Cozumel already at more than 30% occupancy. The area only recently reopened to tourism after a pandemic shutdown.