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Hurricane Jimena weakens slightly as it nears Baja California

September 1, 2009 |  3:57 pm


Hurricane Jimena has been downgraded to a Category 3 storm with 125-mph winds as it approaches Baja California.

Because it will pass well to the west of Cabo San Lucas, it probably will not cause major damage to well-built structures in that sprawling resort city at Baja's tip.

Tracy Ehrenberg, general manager of Pisces Sportfishing, said from her home on the Pacific side of the peninsula that winds had not surpassed 50 mph as of 3 p.m.

"I've been calmly cooking lunch in the kitchen, and there's nothing flying around or anything," Ehrenberg said, adding that the television, Internet and telephone were still working.

Ehrenberg did not downplay the seriousness of the storm, citing the potential for flood and wind damage in areas where poorer people live and homes aren't well situated or well constructed.

Thirty miles away in San Jose del Cabo, electricity was intermittent. "Skies are not as dark as earlier, though is some directions you can see it is raining hard," said Eric Brictson, who runs the Gordo Banks Pangas fishing business. "Surf is 15 to 20 feet. The waves are already coming up into the panga launch ramp area and by now that might already be unusable without major repair work.

"Streets are a mess and we will definitely have a lot of cleaning to do when the system moves further north."

Waves generated by Hurricane Jimena crash on the Pacific side of the Baja California peninsula Tuesday afternoon.

Flooding reportedly has made portions of the highway leading to the East Cape region and La Paz impassable. But aside from street flooding, those regions have not been especially hard hit. 

Mark Rayor, who runs a scuba center and charters a fishing boat out of Buena Vista, described the storm so far as "a few puffs of wind and and about 4 inches of rain."

In fact, some are already looking beyond the storm to brighter days ahead. "We expect to have our fleet fishing again starting on Thursday," said  Eddie Dalmau, a spokesman for Van Wormer Resorts in the East Cape area.

That might be overly optimistic -- the storm's center is still 100 miles southwest of the peninsula -- but time will tell. To be sure, it ought to be an interesting and perhaps very noisy night.

-- Pete Thomas

Graphic courtesy of the National Hurricane Center

Photo: Waves generated by Hurricane Jimena crash on the Pacific side of the Baja California peninsula Tuesday afternoon. Credit: Glenn Ehrenberg