In preparation for Hurricane Emily, Cancún halted the sale of alcohol

On this day in weather history, Hurricane Emily made landfall.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Monday, July 18, 2005, Hurricane Emily made landfall over Playa del Carmen, Mexico, as a Category 4.

The storm started on July 6 as a tropical wave off the coast of Africa. By July 10, the disturbance started to become more organized and concentrated. On July 11, the storm strengthened and was given the name Tropical Storm Emily.

On July 13, Emily reached hurricane status while passing near Tobago. On July 14, the hurricane made landfall on Grenada with wind speeds as high as 135 km/h.

1920px-Hurricane Emily tree Mexico

"A tree damaged by Hurricane Emily in Mexico." Courtesy of Wikipedia

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On July 16, the storm reached Category 5 status, making it the strongest hurricane on record to form in July. Emily's wind speeds reached 260 km/h, becoming the earliest Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin.

Emily continued westward, weakening into a Category 4 while passing near Jamaica. The hurricane remained as a Category 4 as it struck Cozumel just before making mainland landfall at Playa del Carmen. Emily sustained winds up to 210 km/h as the eyewall passed over Cozumel.

To prepare for Emily, Mexico evacuated tens of thousands of tourists and residents from the Cancún, the Riviera Maya, and Cozumel areas.

Some hotel guests on the second floor were given the option to remain in their rooms or be taken to safer locations. No one was allowed in the beach areas. In Cancún, everyone had to stop selling alcohol 36 hours before the storm, to prevent drunken tourists from being injured overnight.

Emily hit the Yucatán Peninsula on July 18 as a Category 4 but didn't cause too much damage as the extreme winds remained in the storm's centre. Areas around Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Cozumel received the most severe damage.

Emily caused $1.01 billion worth of damage, mostly in Mexico. The storm caused 17 fatalities, five people in Jamaica, Haiti, and Mexico and two elsewhere. Hurricane Emily is the costliest Category 5 on record that hasn't had its name retired.

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To learn more about Hurricane Emily, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: "Hurricane Emily making landfall on July 18, 2005." Courtesy of Wikipedia