Wed | Aug 15, 2018

Hurricane Newton slams into Los Cabos resorts

Published:Wednesday | September 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM
A woman wades through a street flooded by the heavy rains brought on by Hurricane Newton in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico,yeterday.


Hurricane Newton slammed into the twin resorts of Los Cabos on the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula yesterday morning, knocking out power in some places as stranded tourists huddled in their hotels.

Newton made landfall as a Category 1 storm with winds of 90mph (150kph), pelting the area near Cabo San Lucas with heavy rain and blowing down at least half a dozen palm trees along the coastal boulevard. Some windows were also shattered, but there was calm in the city as firefighters cleaned the streets of refuse.

Roberto Dominguez, a customer relations worker at the Fairfield Marriot in Cabo San Lucas, said guests hunkered down in their rooms overnight. He said the hotel's windows and balconies had been sufficiently protected from the storm and tourists were fine in the morning, although without cell phone or Internet service.

Los Cabos suffered heavy damage to homes, shops and hotels two years ago when it was hammered by Hurricane Odile, which hit land as a Category 3 storm.

After making landfall, Newton moved inland and its centre was located about 50 miles (80 kilometres) west of La Paz, the capital of Baja California state. It was moving northeast at around 17mph (28kph). Maximum sustained winds had decreased to 80mph (130kph).

Mexico extended hurricane warnings for the peninsula and also a stretch of the mainland coast across the Gulf of California, also called the Sea of Cortez. The US National Hurricane Center predicted Newton could cross the peninsula as a hurricane and re-enter the gulf.

Newton was forecast to dump eight to 12 inches of rain on Baja California Sur state with isolated maximums up to 18 inches, and heavy rains were also expected for five other states. Newton could even reach the US border at Arizona as a tropical storm, according to the latest forecasts.

About 14,000 tourists had remained in Los Cabos as of Monday night as airlines cancelled flights out as the storm approached, said Genaro Ruiz, the state tourism secretary. Ruiz said tourists had been advised to remain in their hotels.