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 » 2006 Forecast  | Saffir-Simpson scale  |  Your stories

Mexican resorts survey damage

Four deaths reported as storm lingered over the Yucatan

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Cancun (Mexico)
Vicente Fox
Disasters (General)

CANCUN, Mexico (CNN) -- Residents of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula were cleaning up Sunday after two days of pounding by Hurricane Wilma.

Wind and water damage were evident across the resort city of Cancun, as downed trees, power lines and other debris blocked roads. Many of the hotels were heavily damaged by the flooding. (Watch Wilma ravage Cancun -- 1:32)

Bulldozers were out Sunday clearing roads and workers were cutting downed trees.

The Mexican government was moving in supplies as people in Cancun waited in long lines for food and water. (Watch Wilma's aftermath in Cancun -- 2:14)

Restaurants were handing out food that would have otherwise spoiled in their refrigerators and freezers.

Some looting was reported.

The storm was blamed for four deaths in Mexico, said the state civil protection director general.

Two people died from injuries in a gas tank explosion, one person was killed by a falling tree, and a man bled to death after being cut by shattered glass.

No deaths were reported in Cancun and the nearby resort of Cozumel, said Felix Gonzalez Canto, governor of Quintana Roo state.

The storm made landfall Friday and then slowed to a crawl, lashing the area with heavy winds and rain before making a hard right turn and churning toward Florida. (Full story)

At one point, a CNN crew in Cancun recorded a wind gust of 150 mph.

Playa del Carmen resident John Harrell told CNN that "all hell broke loose" Friday. He said the storm ripped the plywood off of his windows and demolished his apartment.

"Well, there's about a 500-foot tower, a radio tower that's next to my apartment. We watched it just -- the cable snap, starting whipping in the wind like a bullwhip. Then the tower crumbled," he said.

"We saw cement walls be knocked over by the wind. There's a palm tree on the corner that didn't even break off at the top. It just snapped at half in the middle.

"The grocery store we do all our shopping at, called the San Francisco market, all that's left remaining is just the frame." (Watch tourists talk about riding out storm -- 3:11)

The storm surge flooded the streets and in some areas Saturday the water was above the tires of vehicles.

About 35,000 people, mostly tourists, huddled in hotels and shelters until the storm passed.

The U.S. State Department told CNN on Sunday that about 10,000 Americans were in the shelters.

Although some minor injuries were reported, the State Department said no U.S. citizens were reported seriously hurt.

In Mexico City, the U.S. Embassy set up a call center for U.S. citizens.

Mexican officials planned Sunday to take all 10,000 stranded Americans by bus to Merida, about 170 miles from Cancun.

A U.S. government disaster relief specialist traveled there Thursday to assess the situation.

Continental Airlines is the only U.S.-based airline that has regularly scheduled service to Merida.

U.S. officials were working with other airlines to see if they could help evacuate the stranded tourists.

The Cancun Airport escaped major damage and is expected to re-open Tuesday, officials said.

CNN's Susan Candiotti in Cancun contributed to this report.

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