Mexican resorts bracing for Hurricane Lorena

By Ignacio Martinez de Jesus, Associated Press

Owners pulled boats from the water and hauled them away on trailers while shopkeepers put plywood over windows and doors as Hurricane Lorena bore down on Mexico’s resort-studded Los Cabos area.

Lorena is forecast to pass over or near the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula later in the day with heavy winds and soaking rains, and locals were taking no chances.

The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami upgraded Lorena to a Category 1 hurricane early on Friday, with maximum sustained winds of 75mph.

Forecasters predicted damaging winds, flash flooding and life-threatening surf along the peninsula.

With preparations going on around them, visitors strolled along Cabo San Lucas’s main street buying souvenirs, but also keeping a wary eye on the nearing storm.

A second tropical storm, Mario, is further out with sustained winds of 65mph, but it is not expected to hit land.

Authorities suspended classes for Friday and prepared to use schools as shelters if necessary. The port of Cabo San Lucas was closed to navigation.

“We are taking preventive measures,” said Baja California Sur state government secretary-general Alvaro de la Pena. “Rations, gasoline, all supplies are guaranteed. There is no need for panic buying.”

A total of 177 properties are available as potential shelters in five municipalities of the state. The region is under a yellow alert and anticipating heavy rains.

Lorena came onshore a day earlier as a hurricane in the western Mexican state of Colima, whipping palm trees about with its strong winds and lashing the area with sheets of rain.

It flooded streets, washed out roads and touched off minor slides in 10 municipalities. Dozens of trees were downed, and power was knocked out in some areas.

Colima state governor Jose Ignacio Peralta said nearly 8in of rain had fallen in a little under 24 hours, and more than 7,400 acres of crops such as bananas and papayas were damaged statewide.

But there were no deaths or significant damage to infrastructure, he said.