Intense Hurricane Jimena is located approximately 370 miles (595 kilometers) south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and currently packs sustained winds of around 145 mph (230 kmph), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The NHC has reported that Jimena, which has intensified quickly since it formed early on August 29, 2009, is currently an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 30 miles (45 kilometers) and tropical storm force winds extending outward up to 80 miles (130 kilometers) from the storm’s center. Jimena is currently moving towards the northwest at approximately 8 mph (13 kmph) and a gradual increase in forward speed accompanied by a turn toward the north-northwest is expected during the next day or so. Current forecasts from the NHC expect Jimena to be approaching the southern portion of the Baja California peninsula on September 1.
At present, the NHC have issued a hurricane watch for the southern portion of the Baja California peninsula, from Bahia Magdalena southward on the west coast, and from San Evaristo southward on the east coast, including Cabo San Lucas. According to the NHC, the watch may be upgraded to a hurricane warning later today. In addition, the NHC has urged interests elsewhere in the southern and central Baja California peninsula and in western mainland Mexico to monitor the progress of the hurricane.
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According to Mexican weather officials, as early as 29 August, Jimena had already caused intense rainfall and flooding in the lowlands and landslides in mountain areas of the Mexican Pacific coastal states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco. Elsewhere in southern Baja California, it was reported that preparations were being made for the storm’s likely arrival. Emergency workers in Cabo San Lucas have already built shelters for thousands of endangered families and the local director of Civil Protection said that at least 10,000 families would be evacuated from potential flood zones.
According to sources, Jimena could also disrupt a conference planned by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is to be held in the resort town of Los Cabos on September 1 to September 2.
In La Paz, the capital of the state of Baja California Sur, residents were already boarding up windows and stocking up on emergency food supplies as the weather deteriorated.
According to reports, the area of Baja California where the storm may make landfall is sparsely populated, consisting of a number of small fishing villages. Reports added that Mexico has no oil installations in the Pacific and for the moment, sea ports in the area remain open.
Sources: National Hurricane Center, WSI, Agence France Presse, Associated Press, BBC News, Reuters News
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