CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Norma came ashore near Los Cabos resorts on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula Saturday afternoon, and hours later Hurricane Tammy made landfall on the Caribbean island of Barbuda.
Both storms were Category 1 hurricanes when they struck.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Norma, which was a Category 4 hurricane, moved ashore with winds of 80 mph (130 kph) near El Pozo de Cota, west-northwest of Cabo San Lucas.
Norma later weakened into a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph (110 km/h) as it crossed the Baja California Peninsula toward the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.
Businesses in Cabo San Lucas installed plywood on their windows, and government employees hung signs warning people not to try to cross gullies and sewer basins after… Norma It regained strength and once again became a major storm on Friday.
By late Saturday afternoon, Norma’s center was about 30 miles (45 kilometers) northeast of Cabo San Lucas. National Hurricane Center He said. It was moving north-northeast at 6 mph (9 kph), but was expected to make a harder turn to the east on Sunday.
No casualties have been reported so far due to the storm, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said via Platform X on Saturday evening. “Hurricane Norma has already passed Los Cabos and there was only heavy rain in La Paz, but no loss of life.”
In Cabo San Lucas, curious tourists began making their way along debris-strewn beaches after the storm passed.
Its weak pace raised the possibility of severe flooding. Between 6 and 12 inches of rain are expected to fall in Norma, with a maximum of 18 inches in places across southern Baja California and much of Sinaloa state.
The area is vulnerable to rain because it is generally a dry area, said John Cangialosi, a senior specialist at the National Hurricane Center.
“Six to 12 inches of rain are generally expected, but there may be pockets of up to 18 inches of rain, and we believe that will be the most significant impact that could lead to flooding and mudslides in urban areas,” he said. .
“Since it is moving slowly, greater damage is expected,” Baja California Sur Governor Victor Castro said on the X platform.
But minor damage was initially reported. Some trees and electricity poles fell, but no injuries were reported.
Authorities in San Jose del Cabo said 24 shelters were housing about 1,700 people.
Los Cabos’ Civil Defense Agency urged residents to stay in their homes throughout the day while emergency workers evacuated people from low-lying areas and moved them to shelters.
Police in San Jose del Cabo rescued two people from their truck when it was swept away by a rip current early Saturday. Some slum areas, far from hotels serving tourists, were isolated due to rising water levels. Electricity and internet service were cut off in some neighborhoods.
The federal government sent 500 Marines to the resort to help with storm preparations.
By late morning, the area’s streets were littered with palm fronds and other debris, and were essentially deserted except for occasional military patrols. Strong winds knocked down traffic lights, trees and power lines.
Hotels in Los Cabos, largely frequented by foreign tourists, remained about three-quarters full and visitors made no major moves to leave en masse, officials said. The local hotel association estimated that about 30,000 tourists were in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo on Friday.
Airports were closed. San Jose del Cabo Airport Director Francisco Villaseñor said he expected flights to resume by midday Sunday.
The US National Hurricane Center said Tammy came ashore on Saturday evening with winds of 85 miles per hour (140 kilometers per hour). The hurricane was moving north-northwest at 10 mph (17 km/h) and was centered 35 miles (55 km) north of Antigua.
Hurricane warnings were in effect for the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Maarten and St. Barthelemy.
“Heavy rains and flooding (are likely) to hit most of the Lesser Antilles,” the hurricane center said.
Tammy hit two weeks after Tropical Storm Philip slammed into Antigua and Barbuda, dumping six to eight inches of rain and plunging the two islands into darkness. The slow-moving system was expected to reach 12 inches over the twin island nation, where the devastation left by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and damage from Philip’s recent winds and flooding are still vivid memories.
“This means the ground is still fairly saturated and with additional rainfall, the potential for flooding is high,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in a nationwide broadcast on Friday. He called on citizens to take all necessary measures to secure their lives and property.
Government offices, banks and most retail businesses closed early Friday to allow employees to prepare. Residents rushed to stock up on necessities, causing gridlock across St. John’s and near popular shopping centers and supermarkets.
Local disaster management officials announced plans to open about 40 shelters in communities across the country.
Associated Press writer Annika Kentich in St. John’s, Antigua, contributed to this report.
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