Tropical Storm Olaf Brings Heavy Rains to Baja California Sur | Weather News


Hundreds of residents spent the night in shelters and some 20,000 tourists crouched down in their hotel rooms.

Hurricane Olaf returned to the force of a tropical storm on Friday after hitting resorts in Los Cabos at the tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and then flooding the area with torrential rains.

The storm struck Thursday night near San Jose del Cabo as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 155 km / h (100 mph), according to the United States National Hurricane Center.

But the winds had dropped to 110 km / h (70 mph) in the morning, as they were centered about 100 kilometers (65 miles) west of La Paz, the state capital of Baja California Sur. .

At least 700 residents spent the night in shelters while around 20,000 foreign tourists crouched down in their hotels.

The Cabo San Lucas Fire Department reported fallen trees and downed power lines. Some hotels have reported minor damage[Dominique Torres Williams/via Reuters]

Under Secretary of State for Civil Defense Carlos Alfredo Godinez said he had not received any reports of lives lost.

The storm comes just two weeks after Hurricane Ida, a powerful storm that hit the United States, devastating the state of Louisiana and a handful of eastern states, after moving west from Cuba and the Gulf of Mexico at the end of August.

At least 50 people have died in six US states.

The national electricity company reported that Storm Olaf cut off power to most customers in the state, but was gradually being restored. Authorities reported falling trees on Thursday evening and some hotels reported minor damage. Shelters have been opened for some evacuations in vulnerable areas.

As the storm hit the shore, some motorists found themselves stranded inside their cars during high water.

There are no oil facilities on the Pacific coast of Mexico, but there are tourist destinations.

The ports of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo were closed to maritime traffic as tour operators moved boats from Cabo San Lucas to safer moorings.

Beach resorts would normally be full of tourists this time of year, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels were way below that. [Monserrat Zavala/Reuters]

Authorities have also closed schools in the area, suspended COVID-19 vaccinations and asked many non-essential workers to stay at home. Businesses had boarded up windows and people were lining up for last minute groceries in supermarkets before the storm.

The hurricane center said the storm is expected to head towards the west coast of the peninsula during the day and then move towards the Pacific at night.

More than 500,000 people live in the La Paz-Los Cabos area and Lilzi Orci, president of the Los Cabos Hotels Association, estimated that around 20,000 foreign tourists were in the area despite the COVID-19 restrictions that kept the hotels at less than 40% of their capacity. .

The center of the hurricane is forecasting 12.5 to 25.5 cm (5 to 10 inches) of rain over the southern part of the peninsula, with up to 38 cm (15 inches) in isolated locations, creating a danger of flash floods and mudslides.

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