Emily Lashes Yucatan, Heads North

A car pass by knocked-down power lines in Playa Del Carmen after Hurricane Emily passed Monday July 18, 2005. Hurricane Emily hit the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula causing widespread damage but no deaths or injuries have been reported.
AP
Hurricane Emily slammed into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Monday as a powerful Category 4 storm, snapping concrete utility poles with its winds of 135 mph and punishing waves along the region's famous white-sand beaches.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Emily made landfall near Tulum — 100 miles south of Cancun. The northern eyewall — where the worst weather would be expected — passed directly over Cozumel, it said.

"We have some trees down, we have some damage, but the people are safe right now, and they are in their rooms," desk clerk Fernando at the El Cid la Ceiba Beach Hotel in Cozumel told CBS Radio News.

The hotel is advising its guests to stay inside for now.

"Until we clean up the area, we recommend them to be in the room, take a rest," he said.

"The damage is relatively minor," reports

in Cancun. "There are some awnings that have blown off, a lot of downed trees, a lot of downed power poles, a lot of debris in the streets, but we couldn't find any really significant structural damage."

No deaths were immediately reported from the storm's landfall. Emily earlier was blamed for four deaths in Jamaica, and two helicopter pilots were killed Sunday while attempting to evacuate an oil rig off the Mexican coast in high winds.

The hurricane knocked out power and phone service to much of Mexico's famous Riviera Maya coastline, where thousands of residents and tourists rode out the storm in sweltering, makeshift shelters set up in schools and hotel ballrooms.

Although Emily weakened to a Category 1 hurricane while crossing the peninsula, it was expected to strengthen again over the Gulf later Monday.

A hurricane watch was issued from Cabo Rojo, Mexico, to Baffin Bay, Texas. The brunt of the second landfall was forecast to hit northeast Mexico late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

"Emily will make landfall once again late Tuesday into early Wednesday over the northern sections of Mexico, about 100 miles or so south of Brownsville," says CBS News Meteorologist George Cullen. "The effects for southern Texas will be some heavy rain and squally winds."

By 2 p.m. EDT, winds had decreased to 75 mph, with the hurricane moving west-northwest at about 17 mph in the cooler waters north of the peninsula.

But Emily was expected to reach the warmer currents of the western Gulf of Mexico later Monday, picking up strength and hitting the northeastern coast of Mexico "as a major hurricane" as early as Tuesday night, forecasters said.