A dangerous hurricane Emily arrived at Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula after sideswiping Jamaica. Emily has made crude oil futures higher posing a threat to key oilfields that supply the United States.
Hurricane Emily roared over the island of Cozumel early Monday and lashed Cancun's famous white-sand beaches with rain and punishing waves, ripping down billboards and forcing thousands of tourists to evacuate to higher ground.
Packing 145 mph winds, Emily arrived at Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula after sideswiping Jamaica, where four people where swept away in a car.
The category 4 storm knocked out power and phone service to much of Mexico's famous Riviera Maya coastline, where tourists rode out the storm in sweltering, makeshift shelters set up in schools and hotel ballrooms, reports the AP.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Belize from Belize city northward to the Belize-Mexico border, reports National Hurricane Center.
"Large and dangerous battering waves" and storm surges of 8 feet to 12 feet above normal are expected where the storm makes landfall and to the north, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
Hermann Elger, the manager of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Cancun told CNN early Monday, that the resort community was well prepared for Emily, with four or five days' advance notice of the hurricane's approach.
"We're getting the strongest part of it right now," said Elger.
As the AP reports, crude oil futures opened the week higher Monday as oil companies in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula evacuated workers and began to brace for Hurricane Emily's onslaught. While forecasters predict the storm would not smash into U.S. rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, responsible for around 30 percent of total American output, many oil companies were shutting down platforms as a precaution, and that was expected to disrupt the supply flow. A direct hit could instantly cut off around 3 percent of the global diet of 84 million barrels daily, analysts said.
Still, prices remain more than 40 percent higher compared to a year ago.
As Bloomberg reminds, Emily is the fifth named storm of the June 1 to Nov. 30 Atlantic season. Earlier Emily passed Venezuela without any deaths or injuries.
Tropical Storm Cindy and Hurricane Dennis moved through the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico during the past two weeks, killing at least 20 people in Cuba and Haiti, forcing evacuations of homes and oil rigs and causing as much as $3 billion in damage.
Emily earlier passed across Grenada, killing one person, destroying 120 homes, blowing the roofs of more than 2,200 buildings and causing as much as $110 million in damage, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency said in a statement posted on its Web site.