Hurricane Lorena has prompted new warnings and watches after it skirted along Mexico’s coastal areas late on Friday.
The US National Hurricane Centre said Lorena was a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, and its centre was about 40 miles east-southeast of the Baja California Sur state capital, La Paz.
It was heading to the north-northwest at 8mph on a forecast track parallel to the coast through the Sea of Cortez.
9 PM PDT: New hurricane watches and warnings have been issued for Baja California Sur and mainland Mexico for #Lorena. Heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding are possible in portions of Baja California Sur and northwest Mexico https://t.co/9XsRmTQ7qr? pic.twitter.com/z0KFPpzz0Z
— NHC Eastern Pacific (@NHC_Pacific) September 21, 2019
A hurricane warning was in effect for the peninsula between Santa Rosalia and Puerto Cortes, and a hurricane watch was announced for northern parts of the peninsula and the Mexican mainland from Altata to Bahia.
For days, forecasts had predicted likely landfall in or a near miss with Los Cabos, but at the last minute the storm took a path well east of the glitzy resort area.
Earlier on Friday, residents and tourists in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo hunkered down in homes, shelters and hotels amid warnings of damaging winds, flash floods and life-threatening waves.
Police and soldiers went through low-lying, low-income neighbourhoods in Los Cabos urging people to evacuate. Locals who have been through past hurricanes took no chances, pulling boats from the water and boarding up windows and doors.
Authorities in Los Cabos said 787 people had taken refuge at 18 storm shelters.
It kicked up strong waves in the twin resorts, but by early evening the clouds cleared partially and people ventured onto the beach to view the ocean.
The two cities remained under a hurricane warning late on Friday, though the hurricane centre’s latest projection had them outside the cone of uncertainty with Lorena’s centre well to the north and heading away.
Civil defence official Carlos Godinez said an American tourist who went to the beach in Los Cabos with his son died after being swept out to sea. The son survived. But Mr Godinez said the death occurred early on Thursday, before beach access was restricted, and that it was “not necessarily attributable” to Lorena.
A second cyclone, Tropical Storm Mario, was several hundred miles south of the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula but was not immediately forecast to pose a threat to land.