After crashing into the Los Cabos resorts on the tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, Hurricane Olaf became a tropical storm force and drenched the area with torrential rainfalls.
According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, the storm landed near San Jose del Cabo on Thursday night as a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 100 mph (155 kph).
However, winds dropped to 45 mph (77.5 kph) Friday afternoon. It was located about 30 miles (45 km) west of Cabo San Lazaro.
About 700 local residents stayed the night in shelters, while an estimated 20,000 tourists slept in their hotels.
Carlos Alfredo Godinez, Deputy Secretary of State Civil Defense, stated that he has not received any reports about deaths.
According to the national electrical company, the storm caused power outages for most of the state’s customers. However, it was slowly being restored. Some hotels reported minor damage.
Some motorists were left stranded in their cars by the high water as the storm swept across the coast. Cabo San Lucas Fire Department only reported fallen trees and powerlines.
Officials shut down schools and ports in the region, suspended COVID-19 vaccines, and advised many non-essential workers to stay at home. Businesses had closed their doors and people waited in line to make last-minute purchases at supermarkets before the storm.
According to the Hurricane Center, the storm is expected to move up the west coast of the peninsula in the morning and then turn into the Pacific at night.
The La Paz-Los Cabos area is home to more than 500,000 people. Lilzi Orci of the Los Cabos Hotels Association estimated that around 20,000 tourists visited the region despite COVID-19 restrictions which limited hotels’ capacity to 40%.
The Hurricane Center predicted 5-10 inches (12.5-25.5 centimeters), of rain in the southern portion of the peninsula. In isolated areas, up to 15inches (38 centimeters), of rain could cause flash floods or mudslides.