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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Record-breaking rainfall continues, hitting poor communities the hardest

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Floods form a raging river in Tekax, where police rescue stranded residents. Photo: Courtesy

It wasn’t so long ago that we were celebrating the arrival of rain. Now residents are mopping and squeegeeing away water that in places is knee deep.

While June is normally part of Yucatan’s rainy season, rainfall is 278% above normal, the weather agency reported today.

Cristobal has broken weather records in Yucatan. In 72 hours, Merida has been hit with 13.5 inches of rain. Valladolid was hit even harder, with 17.5 inches, Conagua reported. Oxkutzcab appeared to have the most rainfall: 19 inches.

The storm has “begun its journey toward Yucatan,” declared a local weather forecaster.

Yucatan Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal declared an orange alert for western and southern parts of the state, opening up shelters for people forced to evacuate their homes flooded by Cristobal.

Now a tropical depression, Cristobal is expected to continue its deluge here at least through Saturday.

“Experts indicate that its trajectory will be parallel to the coasts of the Peninsula, and could even modify its trajectory to the mainland in Yucatan, a situation that puts the entire state at risk, especially the coastal municipalities and the west of our state,” Vila Dosal said Thursday afternoon.

Rainfall, practically nonstop for days, has already exceeded that of Hurricane Isidoro in 2002.

Inhabitants of flood-prone areas, such as the low-lying settlement known as “Cartolandia” near the Celestún estuary, were among the first to be transported to one of thousands of shelters throughout the state. Homes, constructed with the most basic of materials, were flooded as much as eight inches.

Videos circulated on social networks showing strong currents dragging furniture to the streets in Ticul.

Heavy rainfall caused a side part of the historic Tekantó church to crumble, while the Saint Paul the Apostle church in Chapab de las Flores, near Ticul, was completely flooded. Benches were seen floating in the water.

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