Oct. 3 (UPI) — The record-breaking nature of the 2020 Atlantic Tropical Season continues as Tropical Storm Gamma strikes the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
Gamma became a tropical storm, and thus gained its name, on Friday evening as it strengthened in the northwestern Caribbean Sea. In doing so, Tropical Storm Gamma became only the second of its name to exist in Atlantic Basin history, and the earliest ever, beating out the Gamma of 2005.
At 12:45 p.m. EST on Saturday, Gamma made landfall near Tulum, Mexico, as a strong tropical storm.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that a weather station at Xel-Ha Park, along the Yucatan coast just north of Tulum, reported sustained winds of 55 mph (89 km/h) and wind gusts up to 68 mph (109 km/h).
On the island of Cozumel, just offshore from the Yucatan Peninsula, wind gusts of 40 mph (64 km/h) were reported early Saturday afternoon.
Gamma is expected to continue to batter the Yucatan Peninsula through the weekend with heavy rain and gusty winds before shifting into the Gulf of Mexico.
On Friday, tropical storm watches and warnings were issued for parts of the Yucatan Peninsula.
The Governor of the state of Quinatana Roo, which contains cities like Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun, advised on Twitter that residents shelter at home and report emergencies to the appropriate authorities.
According to Noticaribe, one of the hardest-hit areas thus far is Playa del Carmen, where the State Coordination of Civil Protection issued a red alert on Saturday morning, due to Gamma’s impending impacts.
Reports of fallen trees, blackouts and flooding in main streets were noted by several emergency agencies in the city.
Just to the north, in Puerto Morelos, the local government set up two temporary shelters. Fire fighters, public services and civil protection crews were out removing tree branches and assisting drivers, municipal president Laura Fernandez told CancunMio.
Gamma is expected to continue to move through the northern Yucatan Peninsula through the weekend, continuing rounds of heavy rain and gusty winds.
Before Gamma pushed into the Yucatan Peninsula, much of southeastern Mexico was deluged by heavy rainfall at the end of September and start of October.