Hurricane Delta only sideswiped Merida, bringing 12 hours — and about 12 inches — of rain, but not nearly the kind of devastation forecasters feared.
The storm still brought tragedy to at least one neighborhood. One woman died in Las Americas when she was electrocuted, according to local media. The 64-year-old had stepped into a puddle where a 220-volt power pole had fallen, residents said.
Residents ran ropes or red cloths to block off flooded streets, and the constant downpour caused ceilings to drip, but by 10 p.m. it was clear that Merida had dodged Delta’s bullet. The Centro Historico, Col. Juan Pablo II and San Sebastián were among the most flooded, local media reported. Some underground spaces, such as the parking areas at Chedraui supermarket in Montebello and at The Harbor mall, were flooded. The newly repaired underpass on the Prolongacion de Paseo Montejo also flooded again.
The Merida airport remained open, but most businesses were shut down and Yucatan imposed its “ley seca,” a total and indefinite ban on alcohol sales.
On the coast, more than 200 residents sought shelter in Progreso. Communities to the east — such as Río Lagartos and San Felipe, — were under evacuation orders. Docks there were shredded and light poles were toppled by the storm.
Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal spent the afternoon touring the state’s hardest-hit areas such as Tizimín, which was still recovering from Tropical Storm Gamma. State officials met with military personnel to discuss recovery efforts.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Delta weakened to a Category 1 storm during the afternoon, but it began strengthening again while moving over the southern Gulf, rising to maximum sustained winds of 90 mph / 150 kph Wednesday night.
Delta could make landfall as a Category 3 storm by Friday. It is aiming south of Morgan City, La.