Hurricane Norma made landfall Saturday afternoon near the resort town of Los Cabos in Mexico, on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula.
According to the US National Hurricane Center, Norma, a Category 4 storm, made landfall as a Category 1 storm with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h) south of Todos Santos. By early afternoon, it was 24 kilometers west-northwest of Cabo San Lucas and moving northeast at 11 km/h (7 mph).
Meanwhile, in the Atlantic, Hurricane Tammy is very close to Antigua and threatens to hit other islands in the Lesser Antilles.
Norma is expected to continue to weaken over the weekend as it crosses the Sea of Cortez but the alert for the Baja California peninsula continues and rain could affect the coastal state of Sinaloa as a tropical storm.
John Cangialosi, a specialist at the National Hurricane Center, said that the area is vulnerable to rain because it is usually a dry region and it is estimated that the rain could range from 15 centimeters of rain to 30. “We believe that is more impactful which can cause urban floods and landslides.”
In the early afternoon, the government of Baja California Sur did not report any victims but the storm had already knocked down trees, roofs of some vulnerable houses and light poles.
The authorities of San José del Cabo had to help two families of tourists – one Mexican and the other American – who were stranded due to the closure of the airport and were transferred to one of the 24 temporary shelters which was installed in the municipality where On Saturday afternoon there are already about 1,700 people, reported Francisco Cota, from the Civil Protection of the town.
Hotels in Los Cabos remain nearly full, at three-quarters of their capacity, but shelters are being built at the facilities themselves and at the schools. According to the president of the Hotel Association, Lilzi Orci Fregoso, 30,000 tourists of various nationalities stayed in the area.
The director of the airport of San José del Cabo, Francisco Villaseñor, hopes that flights from that airfield can also start at noon on Sunday, since the airports of Los Cabos and La Paz are still closed.
Since Friday, businesses in Cabo San Lucas have put plywood sheets over their windows and government workers have hung banners warning people not to try to cross ravines or streams. , because Norma has started raining in that area.
The slow passage of the storm increases the possibility of severe flooding. Norma is expected to drop between 15 and 30 centimeters of rain, with a maximum of 45 centimeters in some areas of southern Baja California and much of the state of Sinaloa, a largely agricultural state that is suffering from a A big drought and confident that Norma will not add much to the state’s water reserves.
Police in San José del Cabo rescued two people from their truck when the current washed it away early Saturday and popular areas became small islands cut off from each other and surrounded by waterways. Some areas have been without electricity and internet since Saturday morning.
By late morning, the area’s streets were littered with palm trees and other debris and almost deserted, except for occasional military patrols. Strong winds knocked over traffic signs, trees and power lines.
Homero Blanco, state commander of the National Guard, said that the beaches were ordered to be closed and Guard troops were sent to evacuate people from the beach, where there is no shortage of people who want to.
The federal government has sent 500 soldiers to the tourist enclave to help prepare for Norma’s arrival, and municipal authorities said up to 39 emergency shelters could be opened if needed.
In the Atlantic, the US National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Tammy had winds of 85 mph (140 km/h) and hurricane watches were issued for the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat and St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla. , Saint Martin and Saint Bartholomew. Tammy is moving northwest at 10 mph (17 km/h).
Tammy is expected to maintain hurricane strength and even weaken as it moves toward the Lesser Antilles on Saturday, passing Guadeloupe, Antigua and Barbuda. Martinique and Guadeloupe are overseas departments of France.
The Hurricane Center is predicting heavy rain and flooding across much of the Lesser Antilles.
Residents of Antigua and Barbuda – a nation made up of two twin islands – are bracing for Tammy’s arrival two weeks after being hit by Tropical Storm Phillippe, which dumped between 15 and 20 centimeters of rain and plunged the two islands into Darkness. The new storm is now expected to drop more than 30 centimeters of rain on the country that was devastated in 2017 by Hurricane Irma and is still suffering damage from Phillippe.
Government offices, banks and most major businesses closed early Friday so staff could prepare. Residents’ rush to stock up on essentials has caused traffic jams in St John’s and near popular shopping centers and supermarkets. Local disaster management authorities have announced plans to open about 40 shelters in communities across the country.
AP writer Anika Kentish contributed to this story from St. John’s, Antigua.