Flooding in Mérida Mexico: What Causes It, Where It Happens, and How to Stay Safe

Mérida a vibrant and beautiful city. However, the weather is unpredictable at times. Likewise, flooding in Mérida Mexico is a serious concern for residents and visitors alike. Heavy rains, tropical storms, and hurricanes cause flooding leading to damage to property and risk of injury or death. In this blog post, find out what causes flooding in Merida Mexico, where it happens most often, how to stay safe during heavy rains, and when hurricane season hits the Yucatan Peninsula.

What Causes Flooding in Mérida?

Mérida, the capital of Yucatan in Mexico, is vulnerable to seasonal flooding due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane and tropical storm season runs from June through November with the heaviest rainfall in September. Additionally, excessive rainfall quickly overwhelms drainage systems. The combination of a bed of limestone and inadequate sewage infrastructure results in a fast-rising water level. As a result, this causes low-lying areas to flood. A study published in 2013 found rainfall patterns changing rapidly in the Yucatan peninsula were due to increasing sea surface temperatures and climate change. This means that flooding is becoming more frequent and intense. Therefore, making it all the more important to prepare for and understand the cause.

Flooding in Mérida Mexico – Where does it occur in Mérida?

Due to Mérida’s location in the Yucatan Peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico, it is prone to flooding. During hurricane season, which typically lasts from June to November, extreme rainstorms cause widespread flooding throughout the city.

More than 20 of Mérida’s subdivisions are located in areas of high risk of flooding, due to their low elevation relative to sea level. These areas are vulnerable to flooding during heavy rainstorms as many of these subdivisions lack proper drainage systems. in significant flooding in the past and could cause more damage in the future if preventive measures are not taken.

New development laws for Merida’s flooding crisis:

  • laws require builders to include flood prevention measures in new construction projects
  • rainwater retention ponds
  • improved drainage systems.

These laws help reduce the risk of flooding in Merida. Hence, ensuring subdivisions built in high-risk areas are better equipped to handle heavy rainfall during hurricane season.

Mérida’s Infrastructure Issues

Wastewater infrastructure is also a major contributor to flooding. Rapid growth of Mérida in recent years unfortunately does not have enough investment in infrastructure to support it. The result is that wastewater and sewage are not properly drained away. Consequently, contributing to localized flooding. This problem is especially acute in the densely populated neighborhoods of Centro and Las Americas. Both of these locations have an insufficient drainage system which is easily overwhelmed in times of heavy rain or flooding. In order to address this issue, the city has committed to major infrastructure upgrades, including investing in new drainage systems, wastewater treatment facilities, and drainage canals.

Centro & Las Americas Experience the Heaviest Amount of Flooding

Centro, the historic downtown area of Mérida, as well as Las Americas, a more modern area, experience some of the heaviest flooding. Most notably, in recent years. In June 2020, Tropical Storm Cristobal caused major flooding in both districts, with streets and buildings being submerged in several feet of water. This level of flooding is more common in the hurricane and rainy seasons. Local authorities have identified Las Americas as an area particularly vulnerable to flooding. They are currently in the process of constructing protective walls and special drainage systems to protect it from further floods.

flooding in houses and streets in Las Americas neighborhood in Merida Mexico

Flooding in Mérida Mexico – How to Stay Safe During Heavy Rains

Because heavy rains and flooding are common in Mérida, it’s important to be prepared. Knowing what steps to take when storms or heavy rains occur creates a sense of security and comfort.

First, stay informed about the weather by monitoring local news and weather reports. This helps you stay up to date on approaching storms and to plan accordingly.

Second, plan your travel ahead of time:  check the weather before leaving home. This helps you avoid driving or walking through flooded areas.

Third, it is always a good idea to have an emergency kit with essential items such as a first aid kit, a flashlight, bottled water, canned food, and a battery-operated radio. Also, make sure you have all the necessary medications and documents in an accessible place.

Fourth, when severe weather is expected in your area, take extra precautionary measures such as closing doors and windows, unplugging electrical appliances, and storing outdoor furniture in a secure area.

Finally, if you find yourself in a flooded area or are unable to safely move out of it, remain inside a safe structure until the flooding subsides. If you must go outside during a storm, stay away from power lines and trees and avoid standing water as much as possible.

By following these safety tips, you can help ensure that you and your family stay safe
during heavy rains and flooding in Mérida.

When Is Hurricane Season in the Yucatan Peninsula?

The Yucatan Peninsula, a tropical climate, experiences hurricanes during the summer months. Importantly, hurricane season with powerful hurricanes occur June through November. With peak hurricane activity occurring in September and October, it is important to be aware of the potential for severe storms and take necessary precautions.

The Mexican government publishes an annual report outlining their predictions for the coming hurricane season, giving residents time to prepare before it starts. As the region is especially susceptible to flooding, residents should be particularly aware of their surroundings during this period. Floods can occur suddenly and without warning, so it is important to understand the potential risks to prepare for any potential weather disasters.

person wearing a turquoise rain jacket walking their bicycle through a flooded street

Flooding in Mérida Mexico – Hurricane Season Advice

If you are planning to visit Mérida or the Yucatan Peninsula during hurricane season, it’s important to know that the area is vulnerable to extreme weather. The Yucatan Peninsula experiences a hurricane season from June 1st to November 30th each year, with the peak of activity occurring in late August and September.

It is important to stay informed of any potential weather threats. Also, make sure you follow all the safety guidelines established by local authorities along with other important advice:

  • pay attention to weather advisories
  • prepare for strong winds and heavy rains
  • avoid coastal areas where flooding could occur
  • keep an eye on the official hurricane season outlook issued by the National Hurricane Center
  • have proper insurance coverage before traveling in case there is significant property damage or if you have to unexpectedly change your travel plans due to an impending storm
  • ensure that your insurance covers hurricanes and other severe weather events
  • check the forecast regularly while on vacation
  • stay indoors in secure structures during storms
  • do not venture out until the all-clear has been given
  • ensure you have all of the necessary supplies for a safe stay such as bottled water, non-perishable food items, flashlights, batteries, and a first-aid kit

Taking these precautionary steps will help keep you and your loved ones safe during hurricane season in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Courtesy:  Telesur