Expect more downpours and floods this rainy season, experts warn

Some water tables remains above normal levels after 2020's record rainfall

Floods in 2020 were particularly severe in Mérida’s Fraccionamiento Las Américas. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Floods in 2020 were particularly severe in Mérida’s Fraccionamiento Las Américas. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

As the rainy season begins to near, meteorology experts warn that Yucatán could be headed for another very wet year. 

Last year, a series of intense storms delivered record-breaking levels of precipitation to Yucatán, which resulted in damage to homes, businesses, and public infrastructure. 

Yucatan’s rainy season officially begins May 27 and ends Oct. 18. However, in recent years seasons have become more unpredictable, likely due to climate change.

Specialists point out that even after almost a year, several regions in the state still find themselves dealing with the consequences of last year’s flooding. For this reason, even an average amount of rainfall could cause serious problems. 

Furthermore, in much of the state, the water table remains above normal levels, which could also contribute to flooding in the coming season. 

“We should expect intermittent flooding during the 2021 rainy season, but if we were to be hit by a series of storms comparable to what we experience last year, we could be in serious trouble,” said meteorology expert, Juan Vázquez Montalvo.

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Last year’s rains flooded several underground parking lots, most notably the one at The Harbour Shopping Mall which still remains closed. 

The storms also forced the closure of the underpass known as el paso deprimido on Merida’s Paseo de Montejo. Attempts to drain the underpass failed given that the main source of the water was not the rain, but rather the elevated water table. 

Neighborhoods such as Fraccionamiento Las Américas suffered severe flooding, which took months to get under control. Damage to electrical infrastructure also resulted in the death of a woman and her dog, as they stepped in an electrified puddle. The lower-level garage at the Harbor mall is still closed after flooding damaged the structure, as well.

The residents of affected areas argue that developers have not done a good enough job to ensure proper water runoff and drainage. 

Experts recommend that people in areas considered at risk for flooding prepare contingency plans and secure important objects such as documents in sealable plastic bags. 

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.