Monday, June 17, 2024

Hurricane Norma downgraded to Tropical Storm after battering Baja California Sur

After pummeling the Baja California peninsula over the weekend, Hurricane Norma has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm as it moves inland over the state of Sinaloa.

Schools in Sinaloa were closed on Monday and some flights canceled as the state faced heavy rains, gusts of up to 110 kilometers per hour, and waves 4 to 6 meters high. At 9 a.m. on Monday, the storm was centered about 25 kilometers northwest of Culiacán.

Several families were evacuated from their homes and moved into emergency shelters, as flooding and power outages left some neighborhoods without drinking water. At least one death has been reported in the state, of a taxi driver whose vehicle was swept away by floodwater. Three more people are reported missing.

The storm has already dissipated considerably from the Category 2 hurricane that made landfall on Saturday near Los Cabos, at the tip of the Baja California peninsula.

Although Norma was downgraded to Category 1 shortly after making landfall, it caused widespread flooding and damage to infrastructure throughout the southern part of Baja California Sur, uprooting trees and sweeping vehicles away in the deluge. Tens of thousands of people were left without power and one person is believed to have died.

The airports of La Paz and Los Cabos were closed and at least 50 flights were canceled on Saturday, while around 60,000 tourists in the area’s resorts were warned to take shelter. Several ports in Baja California Sur and Sinaloa were also closed and a 400-person passenger ferry was left unable to dock. An estimated 20 boats were damaged and three sunk.

Downtown La Paz was flooded on Sunday after Hurricane Norma brought over 500 mm of rain to the area. (@mariablackmoon/X)

On Sunday afternoon, the government of Baja California Sur declared a disaster area in the municipalities of La Paz and Los Cabos to assess the damage. They reported around 60% progress in reconnecting the electricity supply and ongoing work to reestablish drinking water services, as only 6 of 42 wells were operational on Sunday.

“It is necessary to make evaluations and take immediate decisions that allow our cities and communities to recover as soon as possible,” Baja California Sur Governor Víctor Manuel Castro Cosío told the governmental session.

Flights resumed to Los Cabos on Sunday afternoon and to La Paz on Monday morning.

Norma is expected to continue to weaken on Monday afternoon, but will continue to bring heavy rains to northwest Mexico throughout the day.

With reports from AP, Animal Político, Milenio and Aristegui Noticias

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