For storm tracking purposes, the GPS location of Cozumel is: 20.5° N x 86.9° W
For the Cozumel Island area, hurricanes of the past have occurred most often in the months of August, September, October and November so be prepared in advance if possible! Hurricanes can be very dangerous and cause a great amount of devastation to the island as our last big one "Wilma" showed us back in 2005. Read about our personal experiences and how the island recovered at the 1 Year Anniversary.
Official Warning Level Definitions
When being apprised of weather conditions issued by NOAA, the following definitions apply:
TROPICAL STORM WATCH:
Tropical Storm conditions are possible in the specified area of the Watch, usually within 35 hours.
TROPICAL STORM WARNING:
Tropical Storm conditions are expected in the specified area of the Warning, usually within 24 hours.
Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the Watch, usually within 36 hours. During a hurricane Watch be prepared to take immediate action to protect your family and property in case a hurricane warning is issued.
Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the Warning, usually within 24 hours. Complete all storm preparations and evacuate if directed by local officials.
SHORT TERM WATCHES & WARNINGS: These provide detailed information on specific hurricane threats such as tornadoes, floods and high winds.
Type of Storm
Sustained max winds of 62 km/h
Winds of 63-118 km/h
Category 1 Hurricane
Winds of 119-153 km/h
Category 2 Hurricane
Winds of 154- 177 km/h
Category 3 Hurricane
Winds of 178- 209 km/h
Category 4 Hurricane
Winds of 210- 249 km/h
Extended stay guests will be advised by their respective hotel or accommodations management as to what procedures will need to be followed. It is extremely important that guests follow the instructions advised by management in order to ensure everyone’s safety. Please remember that public safety comes first at critical times like these.
Before A Hurricane Arrives: Pick up your copy of the Hurricanes Booklet distributed annually by the Mayor's office at the Palacio Municipio which contains useful emergency information as well as listing shelters available in various areas of the city.
For this Hurricane Season, these are the shelter locations:
Name of Facility
Centro de Convenciones
Av. Rafael E. Melgar. Colonia Andres Q. Roo
Sindicato de la CTM
20 Ave Between Juarez & 2 Norte
Salon del Reino de Los Testigos de Jehova
65 Av. entre calle 5 y Hidalgo
Iglesia De Cristo
55 Av. no. 270 entre Rosado Salas y Calle 3 sur
Av. Pedro J. Coldwell entre 21 y 23 Sur
Colegio de Bachilleres
Cale 27 Sur x 50 Avenida
Salon Del Reino de Los Testigos de Jehova
Carretera Transversal. Colonia Emiliano Zapata
65 Ave. esquina con 1a Sur
Templo Filadelfia Dia
Ave. Miguel Martin entre Hidalgo y 7 Sur
Esc. Sec. "Octavia Paz"
Ave. Leonides Garcia entre 35 y 37
Esc. Primaria "Bernardino Mezo"
Calle Coba entre 20 Ave. y Telchac
Locate the nearest shelter now and pass by in person to note if parking is available, etc. Be sure to check if pets are accepted [most do not] if applicable.
How to Prepare Before Hurricane Season in Cozumel (May & June)
Locate nearby shelters in case evacuation is necessary.
Review working condition of emergency equipment such as flashlights, radios, generators, etc. and check battery supplies for all.
Purchase and cut to size in advance any materials such as plywood, ropes, plastic needed to protect and secure the home. Remember to store or purchase all items such as screws, nails, wire, etc. necessary to securely board up windows and other exposed areas.
Check rooftop sealant for leaks and clear any debris from rooftop drains.
Prune any tree limbs that could be a hazard especially dead ones so as to minimize tree breakage and potential damage to home and power lines.
Review insurance coverage.
What to Do Before an Arriving Storm in Cozumel
Please be aware that for public safety reasons, stores typically close early and some items will become unavailable as stores run out and freight ferries are unable to dock due to high seas. Residents should have extra emergency cash, canned foods, bottled water, flashlights, batteries, candles, a portable radio and a 3-5 day supply of any medications needed.
Electricity on the island or affected coastal area is typically shut off by the power company about 12 hours prior to an arriving storm as a safety measure. Residents should stock up on candles, batteries and flashlights as well recharge all cell phone and marine band radio batteries. A portable battery powered radio is also useful to have on hand as well.
Fill autombile, moped and generator gas tanks with fuel as it may be several days before gas stations can re-open. Once stations do open, supplies will be limited and typically each consumer is only allowed to purchase a specific quantity alotment.
Fill propane tanks then close & secure the gas tanks in a safe, covered area.
Close water supply at intake to prevent possible contamination from flooding. Have bleach on hand to decontaminate flooded surfaces or cisterns.
Cover all windows and door openings with plywood, shutters or other shielding materials.
Secure outside areas around the residence to prevent flying objects and damage. Anything that could become a flying projectile should be brought inside or tied down.
Once homes are properly secured, residents should go to a shelter if the home is on the coastline, likely to flood or cannot withstand strong winds.
Leave food & water for pets on as high a surface as they can reach, in case of flooding.
Prepare a travel kit for use in case of evacuation to a shelter. Include all important Identification documents, 1-2 days clothes, medications, bedding, food, water, flashlights, etc. Put everything that could be damaged into waterproof bags.
Notify friends and relatives outside the warning area of the circumstances and ask for callback attempts at specified times during the storm period. Many times phone lines will be partially operational throughout storms. Often calls can be received from outside the storm area easier than trying to dial out.
Evacuate quickly if/when ordered by public safety officials.
Stay indoors & away from windows. The smallest room in a house is the safest.
Don't be tempted to go out until radio/TV advisories indicate an “all clear” status. If there is a lull, it may just be the middle (eye) of the storm.
Above all ~ Stay calm ~ Stay safe ~ and follow instructions issued by local officials.
What to Do After A Hurricane in Cozumel
Do not return to residences until advised to do so by authorities.
Roads may be closed or unsafe & bridges may be weakened.
Water may be contaminated.
Live electrical wires may be exposed.
Do not step in water, there may be live electrical wires or other hazards.
Stay on firm ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep an adult off their feet.
Notify your loved ones that you are O.K. as soon as possible but then try to minimize phone usage so as to leave the lines open for emergency use and for others trying to reach their families.
As soon as is safely possible inspect for damage and make minor repairs since there may be additional rain bands that follow a storm.
Hurricane Dangers and Myths
Here are a few things you SHOULD NOT DO in times of hurricanes because they are either myths, dangerous or a waste of time:
Don't tape windows. Tape does almost no good - and it's a mess to remove.
Don't leave windows without protection - use plywood or other strong covering material.
Don't open a window away from the wind direction. Any opening can allow wind inside the home, and the wind can shift.
Don't go near windows or glass patio doors during a storm.
Don't empty an in-ground pool. The water table can rise from the rain and force the pool up, perhaps out of the ground.
Don't use a charcoal or gas grill to cook indoors.
Don't approach animals wandering after the storm. Even docile pets can be unnerved by a storm and could bite.
Don't connect a generator directly to a home's electric system. It can electrify lines outside and endanger neighbors and utility workers.
Don't drive through moving water over a road. Even six inches of flowing water can cause a car to float.
If returning after an evacuation, don't stay in a house with a gas smell. Open windows and leave.
Don't tranquilize pets during a storm as they must stay alert!
Don't let pets out after the storm without a leash. With landmarks gone, they can get lost and perhaps encounter displaced wild animals.
Don't sightsee in damaged neighborhoods.
Don't stay after an evacuation is ordered. Rescue workers will not try to reach anyone at the height of a storm.
Don't bring guns, alcohol or pets to a public shelter.
Don't touch metal fences after a storm. They could be touching downed power lines and represent a shock or electrocution risk.
Hurricane Emily Photos - Cozumel, MX July 2005
These are a few photos from Hurricane Emily that visited Cozumel briefly back in 2005 with a direct hit on the island. Emily was relatively timid compared to Hurricane Wilma which arrived less than 90 days later that year! The recovery efforts were quite significant but we all pulled together and made the island even stronger than it was before. Check out Hurricane Wilma.