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|Hurricane Kenna Puerto
Vallarta - October 25, 2002
Puerto Vallarta Hurricane Season: As I noted on the PV weather page of this Gay Puerto Vallarta Guide, because of the topography of Banderas Bay, which is shaped like a gigantic horseshoe opening to the Pacific Ocean on the west, this area is quite well protected from hurricanes that pass up the coast during the Puerto Vallarta hurricane season in the late summer and early autumn (July to early-October). Hurricanes and tropical storms seem to either swing out into the Pacific Ocean or continue on up towards Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. Only once in the last 40-50 years or more did Vallarta suffer serious damages in certain parts of town when Category 5 Hurricane Kenna passed by for a few hours on the morning of October 25, 2002, making landfall some 100-120 miles to the northwest through the village of San Blas, Nayarit, which had been largely evacuated before landfall, and which was subsequently declared a disaster area by the federal government of Mexico. Damages throughout the Jalisco-Nayarit areas were estimated in the neighborhood of $100 million USD.
According to Wikipedia, Hurricane Kenna injured some fifty-two persons in Puerto Vallarta and was the most intense hurricane to ever strike the Pacific west coast of Mexico. Hurricane Iniki which struck Hawaii in 1992 was the strongest ever in the Pacific rim area.
I have had a large number of photos from Hurricane Kenna saved in several file folders, had some extra time recently and decided to post some of them here for a view. Many of these from the Los Muertos beach area and pier I took myself that morning, but a number of them are from other sources which I did not happen to make note of while saving them. One of the more amazing things about the storm was that it came and went in such a short period of time. Within a few hours one could walk on Los Muertos beach late in the afternoon with a calm bay, and see that some 5-8 feet of sand had been washed away and many beachfront restaurants, hotels and such were damaged. Most of the damage, as seen in the photos in the second half of the page, was done to the Puerto Vallarta downtown malecon, which had to be entirely rebuilt, and in the Hotel Zone area to the north of that.
Banderas news reports on the town preparing for the 2014 hurricane season.
Picture of Los Muertos pier and Francisca Rodriguez street during Hurricane Kenna
with Gabriel leaping out of the way
Waves as they approach the Green Chairs area of the gay beach
Los Muertos pier was barely visible during the height of the waves and wind
the Blue and Green chairs beach area several hours afterwards that afternoon
Hurricane Kenna damage to La Palapa and El Dorado restaurants
Puerto Vallarta downtown and the malecon pictures during the height of the storm
The hurricane winds that day were strong but not so fierce, it was the waves which did the damage.
It was indeed amazing to anyone living here that the governments of Puerto Vallarta and the State of Jalisco
fulfilled their promises and rebuilt the Vallarta malecon walkway and seawall in lightning quick time,
re-opening it as they had said they would the week before Christmas 2002.
Not only that, the new PV downtown boardwalk design was superior and more beautiful than before.
In the northern Hotel zone - the waters quickly receded as the hurricane force wave-surge passed within 2-3 hours
Scene from near Plaza Las Glorias where the surge was about the highest in town as this part of the city is only
2-3 feet above sea level - in the northern Hotel Zone near the Sheraton hotel resort and Plaza Pelicanos
One of the statues from the Rotunda of the Sea by Alejandro Colunga lies in front of Zoo nightclub.
About the only store-front in downtown Puerto Vallarta which was actually prepared for Hurricane Kenna
was La Dolce Vita restaurant which was wise enough to completely board up the night before and
escaped almost totally unscathed. But because downtown was so severely damaged,
they had to wait until just before Christmas 2002 to re-open.
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