July 1, 2009
As spring gives way to summer heat, the dryness blanketing most of Mexico's coastal regions also surrenders to the rainy season, roughly June to November, with chance of hurricanes picking up between August and October.
Although many North American travelers opt to stay clear of the coast during the wet season, it's actually one of the best times of year to visit Mexican beach destinations. Gone are the legions of tourists. Hotel rates and airfare are often slashed to rock bottom. And the warm rains are usually not more than a few hours long. The scorching sun returns to dry up wet patches, sending humidity soaring while leaving clear, blue skies, and surrounding hillsides painted countless shades of green.
For 2009, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which monitors and advises on weather is predicting a near-normal hurricane season, an improvement over the last few years when tropical storm activity was above average.
Most storms are nothing to be concerned about but occasionally tropical storms brewing out at sea turn into hurricanes. Generally category 1 and 2 storms are not large enough to warrant evacuation. But a category 3 catches many coastal residents' attention as a serious storm, and categories 4 and 5 are considered evacuation-worthy.
While chances are slim that they will hit landfall, there are a few things that travelers can do if they happen to be caught in the storm, or if a tropical tempests tail passes nearby.