Hurricane Paula is a small storm and is weakening, but it has already packed quite the punch.
Paula swirled close to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday, a major tourism area that is filled with waterfront resorts. By Wednesday morning, the Category 2 hurricane was bringing stormy conditions to Cancun and Cozumel.
Hurricane warnings were issued for the Yucatan coast on Tuesday and officials in Cancun were bracing for impact.
“We hope this meteorological phenomenon is not very strong, but we are taking precautions so that we don't have to come desperately in the middle of the storm to see what can be done. We have taken the boats out of the water and we are prepared,” said tourist operator Leonidas Hernandez.
More than a dozen shelters have been set up for the 30,000 tourists currently in Mexico's Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located.
“We are worried a lot because these types of cyclones in the region, in this season, are particularly unstable,” said Felipe Galvez, Mexico Weather System Coordinator. “That's why this is an important alert.”
By Wednesday afternoon, Paula had its sights set on Cuba. The storm is forecast to make landfall over the northwestern tip of the country on Thursday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center is warning of life threatening flash floods and mudslides.
On Monday, Paula passed off the coast of Honduras and Belize without causing major damage. It did, however, produce winds strong enough to knock over trees, destroying more than a dozen wooden houses in remote coastal towns.
To stay updated on the current storm situation, head to our Tropical Storm Centre.
With files from Andrea Stockton and Lisa Varano