After bringing hurricane-force winds, flash flooding, and a storm surge to Mexico’s Pacific coast, Norma dropped to tropical storm intensity on Saturday. In the meantime, island states in the Atlantic were still under threat from another late-season hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center said that on Saturday afternoon, Norma made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane over the extreme southern region of Baja California Sur, Mexico, which includes Cabo San Lucas. Winds reached speeds of 80 mph.
In the meantime, Hurricane Tammy, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday night on Barbuda. Hurricane warnings have been issued in part of the Leeward Islands, a chain of many island territories and states situated between the Caribbean Sea and the open Atlantic, due to Tammy’s strong winds and excessive rainfall.
At night on Saturday, the hurricane center reported that Norma’s maximum sustained winds had dropped to 70 mph and that the tropical storm had its center about 30 miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas.
Before making landfall over the southern Gulf of California on Sunday, the tropical storm is predicted to pass over the most southern part of Baja California Sur in the evening.
The hurricane agency reported that on Saturday night, the Mexican government decreased the hurricane warning that covered the region from Todos Santos to Los Barriles to a tropical storm warning.
Threats from Norma, however, still exist since it has the potential to seriously harm a few hundred thousand people living in a tourist-friendly area of Mexico. The hurricane center stated on Saturday that in areas with winds from the shore within the hurricane warning area, a dangerous surge of water is likely to produce coastal flooding.
Two individuals were saved from their pickup by San Jose del Cabo police when a raging creek washed it away early on Saturday. Rising water had already isolated some unofficial settlements from the tourist-serving hotels. Internet and electrical services were cut off in certain neighborhoods.
By late morning, the streets were practically abandoned, save for the sporadic military patrols, and were covered in palm fronds and other debris. Power wires, trees, and traffic signs were whipped by strong winds.
Hurricane conditions were already present over the southern portion of the peninsula, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
According to Baja California Sur state tourism secretary Maribel Collins, hotels in Los Cabos, which are primarily visited by international tourists, remained roughly three-quarters full, and guests did not take any significant steps to depart in large numbers.
As per the local civil defense office, airports were closed on Saturday, so there was no way out anyhow.
About 40,000 tourists were reportedly still in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo on Friday, according to the local hotel organization.
Hurricane Norma Effect
José Ceseña was removing his boat from the sea at the Cabo San Lucas port, which he regularly uses to take guests on tours. He said it was not worth endangering his craft with a cyclone approaching and the port closed to navigation.
The resort’s beaches have been ordered closed, according to Homero Blanco, the state commander of the National Guard, and Guard personnel have been dispatched to evacuate the area.
In order to assist with storm preparations, the federal government dispatched 500 marines to the resort, while local authorities stated that up to 39 emergency shelters may be opened should the need arise.
Residents of Antigua and Barbuda prepared for Tammy’s arrival two weeks after Tropical Storm Phillippe passed across the islands, pouring six to eight inches of rain and plunging them into darkness. A twin island nation still reeling from the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and the recent wind damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Philippe was expected to receive up to 12 inches of rain from the slow-moving cyclone.
According to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, this indicates that the earth is still relatively wet and that there is a greater chance of flooding with more rains, he stated on Friday afternoon in a national broadcast. He exhorted the populace to take all required precautions to safeguard life and property.
Banks, government agencies, and the majority of non-retail companies closed early on Friday to give employees time to get ready. Traffic jams occurred across St. John’s and in the areas surrounding well-known shopping malls and supermarkets as locals rushed to stock up on basics.
Officials in charge of local disaster management made plans to open about 40 shelters in various cities across the nation.