(Reuters) – Hurricane Rina closed in on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula on Tuesday, threatening beach resorts like Cancun with heavy rain and dangerous waves but steering clear of oil installations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Rina, now a Category Two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson intensity scale packing winds of 110 mph, is on the cusp of becoming a major hurricane. When sustained winds hit 111 miles per hour storms are considered major Category Three hurricanes.
Authorities in Cancun were preparing 50 shelters ahead of Rina, which is expected to make landfall on Thursday morning. Worried residents cleared out store shelves of emergency supplies like water and canned tuna in case businesses decide to shut down.
“They have already started putting away beach chairs and umbrellas at the hotel just to be safe,” said Michelle Thomson, a vacationing accountant from Texas shopping for souvenirs at a mall in Cancun.
Companies that run marine parks around Cancun moved more than two dozen dolphins, some of them pregnant, housed in areas in the hurricane’s path to safer sites further inland.
The storm could slam into other tourist hubs like Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel, popular with scuba divers and cruise ships on the Yucatán Peninsula, and will also graze the small Central American nation of Belize.