CAPO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Norma made landfall Saturday afternoon near the resorts of Los Cabos on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.
Both storms were Category 1 hurricanes when they hit.
Norma, once a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall near El Pozo de Cota, west-northwest of Cabo San Lucas, with sustained winds of 80 mph (130 km/h), the US National Hurricane Center said.
Norma later weakened to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph) as it crossed the Baja California peninsula and neared the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, late Saturday.
Businesses in Cabo San Lucas nailed plywood over their windows, and government workers hung banners warning them not to try crossing the ditches. Norma Strengthened and became a major storm again on Friday.
Norma was centered about 45 miles (70 kilometers) north-northeast of Cabo San Lucas late Saturday. National Hurricane Center said. It was moving north-northeast at 6 mph (9 kph) but was expected to take a hard turn toward the east Sunday.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told X Platform that there were no casualties from the storm. “Hurricane Norma has already passed over Los Cabos and heavy rain is falling in La Paz alone, but without loss of life.”
In Cabo San Lucas, curious tourists began visiting beaches littered with debris after the storm passed.
The storm’s effects were still being felt after nightfall, and officials urged people to stay indoors. Families were still staying in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, though officials did not say how many. About 200 people were in shelters in La Paz.
Its sluggish pace raised the possibility of severe flooding. Norma was expected to dump six to 12 inches of rain, with a maximum of 18 inches over much of southern Baja California and Sinaloa state.
John Congialosi, a senior expert at the National Hurricane Center, said the area is vulnerable to rain because it is generally dry.
“Six to 12 inches of rain is generally predicted, but 18 inches is possible, and we think that will be the most significant impact, resulting in flash and urban flooding and mudslides,” he said. .
Baja California Sur Gov. Victor Castro said, “Because it’s moving slowly, major damages are expected,” via X Platform.
But initially there was little damage. A few trees and power poles were downed, but no casualties were reported.
Police in San Jose del Cabo rescued two people from their truck when it was swept away early Saturday morning. Some informal settlements were isolated by rising water, away from hotels that catered to tourists. Some neighborhoods lost power and internet service.
The central government has sent 500 marines to the resort to help with storm preparations.
By early morning, the area’s streets were strewn with palm fronds and other debris, and were essentially deserted except for occasional military patrols. Traffic signs, trees and power lines were uprooted by strong winds.
Hotels in Los Cabos, popular with foreign tourists, were about three-quarters full, officials said, and there was no major move to stem the exodus of visitors. The local hotel association estimated there were about 30,000 tourists in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo on Friday.
Airports were closed. San Jose del Cabo airport director Francisco Villesiner said he expects flights to resume by Sunday afternoon.
Tommy came ashore Saturday night with sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph), the US National Hurricane Center said. The hurricane was moving north-northwest at 10 mph (17 kph) and was centered about 15 miles (25 kilometers) north-northwest of Barbuda late Saturday.
A hurricane warning is in effect for the islands of Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy. Warning lifted for Antigua.
The hurricane center said “heavy rain and flooding (is expected) over much of the Lower Antilles.”
Tommy hit two weeks after Tropical Storm Phillip left Antigua and Barbuda in darkness, plunging the two islands into darkness. The slow-moving system was forecast to bring up to 12 inches to the twin island nation, where the devastation of Hurricane Irma in 2017 and recent wind damage and flooding from Phillip were still fresh memories.
“This means the ground is still partially saturated and with additional rain, the potential for flooding has risen,” Premier Gaston Brown said in a nationwide broadcast on Friday. He urged residents to take all necessary measures to protect lives and property.
Government offices, banks and most non-retail businesses were closed early on Friday. Residents rushed to stock up on essentials as the gridlock caused havoc across St. John’s and near popular shopping centers and supermarkets.
Local disaster management officials plan to open about 40 shelters in communities across the country.
Anika Kentish, an Associated Press writer in St. John’s, Antigua, contributed to this report.
Follow AP’s climate coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment