Because of its geographical location, Mexico is a country that is constantly on the alert for hurricanes. With a recorded eight deaths by Hurricane “Harvey” in Southern Texas, we are reminded of some of the strongest storms to have touched down in Mexico.
“Liza” – 2000 dead
Considered the worst natural disaster in the history of Baja California Sur, “Liza” category 4 hurricane left a minimum of 2,000 dead in the city of La Paz. In addition, other populations such as Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo suffered severe flooding. The massacre in La Paz took place between September 30 and October 1, 1976 and was a consequence of the overflow of the Cajoncito stream, which with great waves of water destroyed all the houses in its trajectory. The event marked the end of Luis Echeverría Álvarez’s term.
1959 Mexico Hurricane – 1500 dead
A Category 5 hurricane struck the Mexican Pacific coast the morning of Tuesday, October 27, 1959. The weather phenomenon mainly affected the state of Colima, destroying the populations of Manzanillo and Minatitlán. Multiple landslides resulted in the death of at least 1,500 people and, following the disaster, then-President Adolfo López Mateos ordered to cancel all building permits in the area to thoroughly review the projects.
Rodolfo Chávez Carrillo, who served as governor of Colima, canceled the Agricultural, Livestock, Commercial and Industrial Fair of the state in a sign of mourning, by a decree promulgated on October 31 of that year.
“Pauline” – 200 dead
In the early days of October 1997, a category 4 cyclone devastated major tourist destinations such as Acapulco, Puerto Escondido and Huatulco. Hurricane Pauline produced torrential rainfall along the Mexican coastline, peaking at 32.62 inches (930 mm) in Puente Jula. Intense flooding and mudslides in some of the poorest areas of Mexico killed 200 people, making it one of the deadliest Eastern Pacific storms in recorded history. The passage of the hurricane destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of houses, leaving around 300,000 people homeless and causing $447.8 million in damage (1997 USD).
“Gilberto” – 170 dead
“Gilberto” claimed the lives of about 170 people in September 1988. So far, it holds the record of the most intense hurricane at the time of landfall in Cozumel, with winds of more than 280 kilometers per hour. 83 ships sank and an estimated 60,000 families were left homeless.
“Odile” – 15 dead
15 deaths were the fateful result of Hurricane Odile. The category 4 cyclone hit the city of Cabo San Lucas on the night of September 14, 2014. The next day, about 30 thousand tourists, 26 thousand of them foreigners, formed a long line at the local airport to address a plane that will take them back home. “Odile” left virtually no power to Baja California Sur, and authorities fully restored service until October 1, two weeks after the incident.
“Hilda” – 12 dead
On September 19, 1955, thirty years before the historic earthquake that struck Mexico City, a major hurricane struck the Huasteca region. In Tamaulipas, Ciudad Madero and Tampico were covered by water. In Veracruz, farmers in Panuco, El Higo and Ozuluama lost their maize and bean crops. The hurricane left 12,000 people injured and 600 wounded.
“Beulah” – 11 dead
This hurricane, which oscillated between Categories 3 and 5 as it traversed the Gulf of Mexico, landed in Cozumel on September 17, 1967, with winds of 180 kilometers per hour. The municipality of Tizmín, in Yucatan, was among the most affected with a hundred homes destroyed. 11 people died and eventually Beulah caused heavy rains in the northeast of the country and in the southern United States. Lester B. Pearson, Canadian Prime Minister between 1963 and 1968, expressed his condolences to Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, rescuing in his message the “fortunate fact that a relatively small number of human lives were lost.”
Source: EL Universal