Residents and tourists visiting the Yucatan Peninsula have been boarding airplanes for home and moving inland as Hurricane Rina bares down, expected to make landfall Thursday. America is not out of the dark, but coastal residents have been keeping a close eye on the storm.
Developing into a lesser intensity storm than first thought, but still a Category 2 hurricane, Rina is still well-formed and spiraling towards Cozumel, Mexico. The question now is about just how hard Rina will hit.
According to an alert from the National Hurricane Center, "Rina [is] now moving slowly west-northwestward...new warnings issued for the Yucatan Peninsula."
At this point, it appears that Rina will make landfall Thursday afternoon. The National Hurricane Center warning went on to note that "tropical storm conditions are expected to reach the coast later today."
At Category 2, the storm poses less of a threat than originally thought. The National Weather Service says Rena could make landfall on Thursday with waves and weather building beforehand.
Rina could hit the United States mainland according to meteorologists, but is not posing a major threat.
Tracking towards the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the hurricane appears to be less of a threat to the U.S. as its intensity peaks, and likely will not become a Category 3 storm.
As Rina forms in the Gulf, with sustained winds of 110 mph, the storm still has the potential to dump up to 16 inches of rain in the area.
Tracking in the same general direction, in 2005, hurricane Wilma had ripped nearly 60 percent of the sand from those beaches and the Mexican government has spent billions trying to rebuild them since.
Marine parks have been paying particular attention to some very special residents who are unable to get around without help — about 24 dolphins, many of them pregnant, are being moved.