Hurricane Rina is expected to hit the eastern coast of Yucatan peninsula by Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Although Rina was downgraded from a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, people in vulnerable areas were advised to take cover by emergency services in Cancun’s home state of Quintana Roo.
About 2,800 were being evacuated from low-lying Holbox Island, off the Yucatan`s northeastern tip, Quintana Roo`s governor Borge said, according to Reuters.
On Tuesday, around 80,000 tourists were in hotels in Cancun and other resorts like Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel.
“Rina ruined our plans," said Raquel Cortes, on her honeymoon in Cancun, Reuters reported. "We wanted to go to the beach, scuba dive and go to the marine parks ... we can't get in the ocean.”
Cruise ships were also changing itineraries to avoid the storm’s path.
Hundreds of people formed long lines in the crowded Cancun airport in an attempt to leave before the hurricane hit. Reportedly, more than 90 flights in and out of the city were canceled for Thursday.
Schools along the coast and on Cozumel were ordered closed in anticipation of the storm, said Jorge Artuno Cruz, spokeman for Quintana Roo’s education department, according to AP.
Hurricane Rina has weakened in the past 24 hours as the storm approached the Yucatan Peninsula`s east coast.
“Rina has become less well organized on satellite imagery over the past several hours... with the extent of cold cloud tops diminishing within a ragged-looking cdo feature. This suggests that some weakening has taken place,” said the National Hurricane Center.
Rina was located about 140 miles (225 km) south southeast of Cozumel Island at 10 p.m. CDT/2100 GMT on Wednesday and was moving west northwest.
According to the United Nations, the rain that started on Oct. 12 has affected more than 1 million people, destroying crops and damaging roads in Central America.