Mérida, Yucatan — Thursday’s winds affected a large part of the state, toppling trees and billboards, all under the force of what fishermen call the cordonazo de la Santa Cruz.
In English, it’s called a squall, a sudden, short-lived but powerful storm. In places, the winds were accompanied with rain and hail, around 3:30 in the afternoon.
Although a cold front was predicted — and welcomed for breaking the heat wave — the storm’s fury took many people off guard.
It was “almost like a hurricane,” said Diario de Yucatán.
Winds reached 90 kph/55 mph with gusts of 100 kph/62 mph. Strongest winds were at the coast, particularly Progreso, according to the National Water Commission.
No lives were reported lost in the storm, but injuries and property damage was extensive.
At Yucalpeten, at least 20 ships broke their moorings and violent currents dragged them south of the harbor.
A tractor-trailer overturned on the Periférico, with no injuries reported, according to Diario.
At least 30 trees were toppled in different points of Mérida, including avenidas Itzaes, Líbano, Zamná, Canek and Mulsay. Glass from a balcony shattered at the Hilton Garden Inn, only recently opened at the Uptown Mérida shopping complex.
Elsewhere, a pizzeria’s roof terrace awning was shown in a Facebook group to be falling apart.
On social media, the police and residents shared images of cars crushed by huge, uprooted trees. On Facebook, one expat wondered what her responsibility is after her flying garage door damaged a neighbor’s car.
Power failures followed on many blocks, often lasting hours, although some on social media marveled at how quickly electricity was restored.
Trabajando para restablecer servicios de semáforos afectados por el vendaval. pic.twitter.com/qsgnGryoWm
— SSP Yucatán (@PoliciaYucatan) May 4, 2017
The system is locally known as Turbonada de la Santa Cruz or San Francisco de Asís, when it is experienced at the beginning of May.
The most damage was seen along the port and in the central of the state.
Winds are expected to continue Friday, but with far less power.
“On the plus side, the temperature is now 79 degrees,” said one expat who hails from the United States. “Until the storm, it was inching up to 100.”
“It was such a relief…except the part where the sky was falling, planters were toppling and there wasn’t any rain!” said another.