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Hurricane Beatrice Drops 7 Inches of Rain on Acapulco

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 23 June, 2011

(Acapulco, 22 June) Tropical Storm “Beatrice” reached hurricane status off the coast of Guerrero, near Acapulco, on Sunday and Monday. The high winds downed power lines in many parts of town, causing blackouts lasting for several hours. Even so, the winds were less of a threat than the rains, which fell heavily and caused landslides and flooding throughout the port city. According to the Civil Protection Agency, the passage of Beatriz over Acapulco dropped more than 7 inches of rainfall in just two days.

The net result of the visit of Hurricane Beatriz to the Pacific waters off Acapulco was four deaths, two injured and 150 houses severely damaged. Countless homes and businesses were inundated with as much as three feet of water. Not only low-lying properties were affected; houses on the higher slopes also suffered damage from mud, rocks and heavy rainfall.

On Tuesday morning at 9:07, according the state public safety director, three persons fell into a septic pit near their home on the outskirts of Acapulco. The concrete cover had broken into pieces, and the mother of the family fell into 7 feet of water. Her husband and teenage son jumped in to save her, but all three perished. On Monday, a 16-year-old boy fell into an arroyo, which is usually dry in the winter. On Monday, however, it was swollen by rainfall and running in a torrent towards the sea. The boy was swept away in the current and drowned. Two others were severely injured, but did not drown: one was hospitalized after a tree toppled over on him in Puerto Marqués, and the other suffered injuries from being in his car when it was swept off the Costera Alemán and dragged back towards the bay by the fierce undertow. Fallen trees in the outlying suburbs of Acapulco caused much of the property damage, while many streets and boulevards became lakes of running water. Seventeen rockslides and mudslides were reported, mainly in the poorer, upland neighborhoods. Portions of the Escénica (Scenic Highway) and other roads leading out of town were damaged by the large pools of water that overflowed and overwhelmed the drainage infrastructure. Several vehicles were dragged off the Costera in the Golden Zone by waves that took them back towards the sea.

The neighborhoods most heavily affected were on the side of Acapulco known as the Diamond Zone: Puerto Marqués, Llano Largo (a popular inland neighborhood), and Alejo Peralta (part of Coloso). The housing development in Colosio also reported severe flooding.

Governor Ángel Aguirre surveyed the damage, and reported that Acapulco was really the hardest hit of all places in Guerrero. No deaths or injuries were reported in the other municipalities of the state, and property damage was relatively light.

Merchants along the corridor of Avenida Cuauhtémoc from the Maxitunnel to Parque Papagayo suffered heavy flooding due to the “Bicentennial Overpass,” hurriedly constructed last year. The elevated roadway diverted rainwater over the sidewalks and into businesses on the downhill side, while water backed up into businesses on the uphill side. The waters had nowhere else to go once they were dammed by the foundations of the roadway itself. Many loudly protested that the mayor had rushed the construction of the overpass last year in order to boost his bid for the governorship, at the expense of performing proper design engineering. City Hall has denied the allegation, pointing out that the current construction is really temporary. It was but phase one of a multi-stage project. Construction on phase two has not yet begun, and cynics doubt that much will happen until the next political campaign.

Approximately 60% of the classes in elementary and secondary schools were suspended because of the rains, as many children found it impossible to leave their homes and neighborhoods. Most of the areas affected were in the poorer suburbs, where drainage is chronically deficient.

On a positive note, officials from the water authorities in Acapulco and Chilpancingo (Capama and Capach) pointed out that the water tables were finally being replenished after a long dry season, and that this bodes well for having adequate potable water in the coming months.