June to November is hurricane season!  The U.S. Consulate in Merida reminds Americans traveling or residing in the Yucatan peninsula to stay alert and prepared.

Be Prepared
Americans in the Yucatan should be aware that hurricanes are a fairly frequent phenomenon here.  Hurricanes like Dean (2007), Wilma (2005), and Isidore (2002) caused serious damage and even deaths in various parts of the Yucatan Peninsula. Americans living here, or planning a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula, should consider the risks and make an emergency plan.

In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, a very useful website to monitor is the National Hurricane Center, found at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/. The Consulate will also monitor the storm’s track and send out warden message(s) to Americans registered with us on the travel registration website.  The Department of State may issue a Travel Alert or Travel Warning to apprise the American traveling public of the situation.

You should also monitor the state government Civil Protection website.  For Yucatan state, http://www.yucatan.gob.mx/procivy/.  Quintana Roo (which includes the popular tourist areas of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and Tulum), http://proteccioncivil.qroo.gob.mx/.  Campeche’s is http://cenecam.gob.mx/pronosticopr.php.  Get to know the color alert system; what each level means and what preparations you should make.  For example, Yucatan state’s can be found at http://www.yucatan.gob.mx/procivy/colores.htm.

Your Checklist:

  • Is your U.S. passport valid?  And those of your family members?  You may need to travel to the U.S. on short notice and would not want to be stuck without valid travel documents.
  • Protect your vital travel documents from potential water damage by placing them in a waterproof container.
  • Register with us at travel registration website. We can only send you an email if we have your contact information, so sign up today!  Be sure to give us an email address you can access abroad (for example, not your U.S. work email if you can’t access it while vacationing in Mexico).
  • Check with your tour operator, airline, or charter flight company (as appropriate) regarding travel services back to the U.S. in the event of a hurricane, and the possibility of early return if a storm is forecasted for your region.
  • Obtain a cell phone that works internationally to stay in regular contact with family and friends in the U.S. and advise them of your whereabouts. If you have a U.S. cell phone, check with your service provider to see if you can get roaming for the time you will be ni Mexico.
  • Research the region you’re visiting and familiarize yourself with local procedures
  • Pack an Emergency Supply Kit.
  • Keep extra bottled water and non-perishable food items on hand.
  • Keep an up-to-date list of local emergency phone numbers, as well as contact numbers for the nearest U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or Consular Agency.
  • Obtain travel insurance prior to your trip to cover unexpected expenses in the event of an emergency.
  • Leave a detailed itinerary and your local contact information with a friend or family member in the U.S.
  • Make two photocopies of the passport identification page, airline tickets, driver’s license and the credit cards you plan to take. Leave one copy of each with family or friends at home, and pack the other copies separately from the originals. Leave a copy of the serial numbers of your travelers’ checks with a friend or relative at home.

Please visit the following websites for more information:

http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_3795.html

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

For how to contact Consulate Merida and the Consular Agencies in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, visit our website at http://merida.usconsulate.gov/contactinfo4.html