Hurricane Jimena begins wreaking havoc in and beyond Los Cabos area
Hurricane Jimena is weakening slightly as it approaches Baja California, but it remains a Category 4 storm and though its center is 100 miles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, it is beginning to wreak considerable havoc there and throughout the state of Baja California Sur.
Visiting tourists -- many of them fishermen and surfers -- who chose to stay and ride out the storm are doing so indoors. Some resorts have boarded their windows. Streets are flooded, and rain is torrential at times. The Los Cabos airport was closed at last check, and flight service has been disrupted. Those with scheduled flights over the next few days are urged to consult their carrier."The weather is steadily deteriorating," Eric Brictson, owner of Gordo Banks Pangas in San Jose del Cabo, said Tuesday morning via e-mail. "Winds are now starting to gust out of the east and rainfall has been steady to extremely hard. Have not even been down to check the beach today, I hear that the surf is near 20 feet. We are bracing for the worse yet to come, probably this evening. I am sure there will be some heavy flood damage."
Hotel guests are certainly faring better than inland residents, particularly the poor who live in areas prone to flooding. Thousands reportedly have been evacuated to shelters.
At the East Cape north of Cabo San Lucas on the Sea of Cortez, well beyond of Jimena's projected path, hotel owners and guests are in wait-and-see mode. Gary Barnes-Webb, foreman at the Rancho Leonero Resort, said he sent some guests home before the storm made its presence felt, but about 20 guests remain.
Some even went snorkeling Tuesday morning, before the wind picked up. "We've put storm boards up on all the vulnerable places in the resort," Barnes-Webb said. "I don't anticipate anything stronger than tropical storm winds, 50-70 mph."
In La Paz, Jonathan Roldan, who owns the Tailhunter International outfitting service, spent the morning sandbagging around a restaurant he recently opened. "Now it's like sitting in a foxhole waiting and knowing the Panzer division is coming around the corner," he said.
Roldan said the city is anticipating extensive street flooding but, like everyone else who has been checking the National Hurricane Center's periodic reports, is hopeful the storm will pass without causing widespread damage.
Below is the latest graphic posted on the center's site, showing the projected five-day path. It looks reasonably good for those in the tourist zones along the Sea of Cortez, and not so good for those in the Magdalena Bay region, where the storm's center will make its first brush with land, and the many small communities to the north.
-- Pete Thomas
Photos: Building waves in front of the Cabo Pacifica Hotel (top), and a flooded downtown Cabo San Lucas street. Images were captured at about 11 a.m. today. Credit: Glenn Ehrenberg