Rina at category 2 and growing

Rina, the sixth Atlantic hurricane of the season, is poised to make landfall close to the island resort of Cozumel on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula late tonight.

The storm has already reached sustained winds of 110mph, just shy of the Saffir-Simpson category 3 strength which would make it a major hurricane, though this may well be a reality by the time it hits.

Cruise ships are being diverted and some 85,000 tourists are being evacuated from the tourism hotspot, with the state of Quintana Roo, containing Cozumel and the city of Cancun, preparing over 1,000 emergency shelters. Marine parks in the city are also reported to have relocated dozens of dolphins further inland.

The neighbouring nation of Belize, popular with cruising sailors and charterers, has issued a hurricane watch. Its weather service is paying close attention amid fears that, while it should track north-west, if instead it continues its current westerly track the hurricane could head straight to Belize City. Honduras Bay islands including Roatan and Guanaja are also at risk.

The USA’s National Hurricane Centre has issued a public advisory, saying: ‘Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion in the warning area’.