Pounding surf pushed by a Pacific swell known as “Mar de Fondo” continues affecting Mexico’s entire Pacific coast, swamping and flooding beachfront hotels and restaurants and driving tourists and locals away from the beaches.
In Guerrero, civil protection director Raul Miliani, said on Monday 4th in an interview with Milenio TV that his state would request a declaration of disaster. The southern state has seen surf of 9 feet to 12 feet that has closed beaches.
Miliani said that as of Sunday May 3rd, 224 people from the community of Coyuca de Benitez, up the coast from Acapulco, remained in shelters.
Ship traffic in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, Mexico’s largest port, continued normally during Monday May 4th, but the port was closed to small craft.
The states of Colima, Jalisco, Sinaloa and all the way up to Baja California Peninsula, also saw beach access restricted by high surf.
But Mexico was not the only country that felt the power of this unusual swell; the waves lashed the Pacific coast of Latin American countries from Mexico all the way down to Chile.
In Panama, one person was swept away by strong waves that prompted an alert from authorities, while in Mexico a man drowned on the beach of Acapulco. Waves over 4 meters (12 feet) high battered sea-side homes and flooded streets of the Mexican resort city.
The third death occurred in the Chilean city of Valparaiso where a European tourist was swept away and another person was injured.
Storms and wind
A 14-year-old boy was reported missing in El Salvador near the town of Playa Metalio. Numerous people had to be rescued and some 400 were evacuated as the strong waves damaged more than 50 homes across the country’s coast.
Mexican authorities said that the sea swell was produced annually by large storms and winds offshore.
The swell will likely affect the Pacific coast for the next four days and sportsmen and fishermen had been advised to take extreme caution.
Giant waves, stirred by a powerful low pressure system in the Pacific, have given surfers the ride of their lives and flooded coastal regions at a Mexican surf mecca.
The storms originated near the International Date Line and included sustained winds of 50-60 knots (93-111km/h), creating a massive swell that surprised residents in coastal regions fringing the eastern Pacific.
Puerto Escondido, a world-famous surfing town two hours south of Acapulco, was one region hit by the monster waves on the weekend.
Shops and restaurants were flooded and surfers battled the biggest waves in the area perhaps for decades.
Crestomatía: Mark Healey rides a monstrous wave at Puerto Escondido (Video: http://www.surfertoday.com)
“It shows huge waves can be generated quite some distance away,” said Alex Zadnik, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, who has surfed at the Mexican beach. “The weather conditions wouldn’t have given the locals a clue” of what was coming, he said.
Mr Zadnik said professional surfers had taken to social media, describing 10-metre waves far beyond what they had experienced before.
Many took to wearing special buoyancy vests to ensure they stayed afloat.
“The foam would have been two or three metres deep,” Mr Zadnik said. Getting a breath between waves “can be problematic” in such conditions, he said.
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