Authorities evacuated fishing communities on Mexico's resort-studded Caribbean coast and some tourists began to leave, as Hurricane Rina took aim at Cancun and Cozumel today. In Cancun's hotel zone, a string of pickup trucks hauled small boats and jet skis away from marinas, while workers at shopping malls began boarding up windows. At least eight cruise ships were changing itineraries away from the storm's path, and many of the only 1,719 tourists in Cozumel—which could be the hardest hit area—were hightailing it out of town.
Rina's maximum sustained winds remained steady at about 110mph early today, making it a Category 2 storm. But forecasters predict it will strengthen as it nears the Mexican coast tonight before rolling over Cozumel, then along the coast to Cancun. State Tourism Director Juan Carlos Gonzalez Hernandez said there were about 83,000 tourists in the state, some of whom told the AP they were planning to ride out the storm. The area was badly damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, when Cancun's famous white-sand beaches were largely washed away in damages that totaled $3 billion. (Read more Cancun stories.)