Hurricane Grace makes a mess of Mexico's Mayan Riviera

TULUM (Mexico) -- Hurricane Grace struck Mexico's Caribbean coast on Thursday. It knocked out power to thousands of people and ripped off roofs at some homes.
Although the storm was weakened by the push across land, it was centered over water by evening -- the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. National Hurricane Center reported that it was gaining strength again as it heads for a collision with Mexico's mainland late Friday or early Saturday.

The Category 1 hurricane had already inundated earthquake-damaged Haiti, Jamaica, and the Cayman islands, en route to direct damage on Mexico's Riviera Maya, which is the heart of Mexico’s tourism industry. According to the National Hurricane Center, Grace's center was just south of Tulum and sustained winds maximum of 80 mph.

At night, the tropical storm-force winds rose to 65 mph. It was located approximately 360 miles east from Tuxpan, and was moving west at 16 mph.

Some families spent hours hiding from flying debris and crackling trees in Tulum.

Carlos Gonzlez, Grace's eye turning just offshore at 2 AM Thursday morning, grabbed his toddler son from his mother and ran to the shelter for many families. They were able to find their way through the darkness thanks to the light of his phone.

The 35-year old construction worker stated that the only thing left was what he was wearing. "I knew that my cardboard-constructed house wouldn't withstand it. "When the wind came, I was scared so I decided to flee."

Miguel ngel Garcia made the decision to stay. He used a machete on Thursday to remove a tree trunk from his roof.

The 33-year old waiter said that the wind had come and told us to go to school. But we didn't have the time, as the trees were coming in." "We decided to stay, not to go out on the street, and to leave it up to God."

Many streets were blocked by trees and fallen limbs, which caused power lines to be down, leaving thousands without electricity. However, there were long lines for residents who wanted to purchase tortillas and other foodstuffs at the businesses that did open.

Quintana Roo Gov. Carlos Joaqun stated that the storm knocked out power to approximately 84,000 Cancun customers and 65,000 in Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. He said that there were no deaths. Cancun's international Airport reopened on Thursday afternoon.

A fallen sign blocked one lane of highway between Playa del Carmen und Tulum. Two cars were thrown into the air by a large pavilion that exploded, destroying a gas station.

Before the storm arrived, the state had prepared shelters and evacuated residents from some hotels. Grace was not able to reach Cozumel, a popular cruise ship destination. She arrived south of Playa del Carmen where the downtown, which is usually bustling with music and partygoers, was almost completely deserted Wednesday night. All businesses were to be closed by 8 p.m. and all people must remain inside.

According to state authorities, 130,000 tourists were in the region as of last week. Hotels were nearly half full despite the pandemic.