Hurricane Olaf leads to strong winds, rain to Mexico’s Baja California
MEXICO CITY -Hurricane Olaf was blowing stronger winds and battering the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula with heavy rains as it made landfall on Thursday, officials said.
Olaf hit land near San Jose del Cabo at 10:00 p.m., blowing maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (155 kph), the U.S.-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
A hurricane warning covered Baja California Sur Mexico from Los Barriles to Cabo San Lazaro, the NHC said. It warned of life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides unleashed by predicted rainfall of 5 to 10 inches (13 cm to 25 cm), rising to a maximum of 15 inches (38 cm) in some areas.
Earlier on Thursday, Mexico’s federal water commission CONAGUA said in a statement that Olaf could likely strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane overnight as it made landfall, hitting the areas around Los Cabos, La Paz and Baja California Sur, home to well-known beaches.
Authorities reported fallen trees and power outages in Los Cabos. Shelters were opened for some evacuations in vulnerable areas. There are no oil installation on Mexico’s Pacific coast but there are tourism destinations.
Hurricane conditions were spreading across the southern portion of Baja California Sur, the NHC said.
The Six Two Four Urban Beach Hotel in Los Cabos was giving guests the option of checking out early as Olaf approached, said Iris Montaño, a front desk worker.
“A guest came to ask me about whether it was a safe area,” Montaño told Reuters by telephone. “It’s getting a bit windy now … I couldn’t tell you how many kilometers an hour, but it’s intense.”
At the nearby Posada Real Los Cabos hotel a receptionist told Reuters some worried guests had canceled their flights.
Olaf was expected to continue moving northwest through Friday, before turning west at night, and moving toward the southwest by Saturday night, the NHC said.
The hurricane is expected to weaken on Friday and over the weekend as it moves over land.