CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) — A weakening Tropical Storm Blanca rolled into the Baja California Peninsula on Monday, with rains expected to lash a wide area including the resorts of Los Cabos.
Only recently a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph (215 kph), Blanca was a tropical storm with winds of 45 mph (75 kph) Monday and it was expected to soon fade to a tropical depression.
With memories still fresh from Hurricane Odile, which battered ramshackle homes, stores and luxury hotels when it made a direct hit on Los Cabos as a Category 3 storm in September, authorities put thousands of troops on alert and issued maritime warnings.
Locals nailed down roofs and dragged food stands in from the beach in Cabo San Lucas, even as some tourists strolled the sand taking pictures of the cloudy skies and rising surf. Gusty winds whipped the tops of palm trees.
Mexico’s National Water Commission warned of strong winds, lightning, up to 20-foot (6-meter) surf and “extraordinary rainfall,” with possible localized accumulations of 10 inches (250 millimeters) or more in Baja California Sur state, which is home to Los Cabos.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Blanca is the earliest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall on the peninsula. It hit near Puerto Cortes and as dawn neared, it was located about 40 miles (60 kilometers) east-northeast of Cabo San Lazaro. It was moving to the north-northwest at 15 mph (24 kph).
Associated Press writer Peter Orsi in Mexico City contributed.