Hurricane Delta has left a trail of toppled trees, torn roofs and downed power lines in the Mexican getaway Cancun but the storm has weakened before landfall and appears to have wrought less destruction than many had feared.
Beachside roads were flooded, small boats overturned in a marina, while roof tiles and broken glass littered sidewalks in what looked like a ghost-town early on Wednesday, with 39,000 residents and tourists hidden in shelters before winds abated.
Fallen trees partially blocked a road to the resort’s strip of five-star hotels, and a heavy-set policemen with an axe hacked a path through the debris.
Smaller properties suffered caved in-walls or shattered windows, including a local Banco Azteca bank branch surrounded by shards.
Delta had weakened to Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity, with winds of 175 km per hour by the time it hit the coast close to Puerto Morelos, a fishing village popular with tourists.
The storm retained a similar strength as it raked across the Yucatan peninsula, an area of jungle, Mayan ruins and modern-day Mayan indigenous towns and villages.
It was expected to gather strength again and hit the Gulf of Mexico later in the day.
Its approach has prompted oil companies to shut down offshore production platforms and withdraw workers.
The NHC issued a storm surge warning for parts of the US Gulf Coast, including High Island Texas and along to the Alabama-Florida border.