Hurricane Jimena is located near the west coast of Baja California Peninsula, approximately 65 miles (110 kilometers) south-southeast of Cabo San Lazaro in Mexico. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to around 105 mph (165 kmph), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The storm is travelling in a north-northwest direction and this general motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected over the next 24 to 36 hours. On this course, Jimena will be near or just offshore the west coast of the southern Baja California Peninsula today and near or over the central Baja California Peninsula tomorrow. The NHC said hurricane-force winds extend 50 miles (85 kilometers) from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extend 140 miles (220 kilometers) from the center.
A hurricane warning is in effect for the Baja California Peninsula from Agua Blanca northward to Punta Abreojos on the west coast and from La Paz northward to Mulege on the east coast. The NHC said Jimena could produce five to 10 inches (125 to 255 millimeters) of rain over the southern half of the Baja Peninsula and parts of western Mexico over the next couple of days, with up to 15 inches (380 millimeters) possible in some areas. The heavy rainfall could produce life threatening flash floods and mudslides, forecasters added. The NHC also warned that Jimena could cause a dangerous storm surge along the Baja Peninsula.
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Jimena has weakened in the last 24 hours and further weakening is expected as the storm interacts with land. Forecasters also said the hurricane is expected to make landfall further north than earlier predicted and along a sparsely populated region of the Baja California Peninsula. Due to Jimena’s approach along the peninsula, small deviations to the left or right could significantly impact both the specific location and timing of its landfall.
The NHC currently expects Jimena’s eye to come ashore either later today near Magdalena Bay in southern Baja California Peninsula as a category 2 hurricane and/or over the central Baja California Peninsula as a category 1 hurricane tomorrow. Either way, the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula is expected to be hit by hurricane-force winds.
Jimena brought powerful winds and heavy rain to southern resort towns at the southern tip of Baja California as it skirted the peninsula. The Mexican government declared a state of emergency for Los Cabos and the state capital of La Paz as the storm approached. Schools, many ports and most businesses were closed and around 5,000 people were evacuated. However, authorities reported no injuries or major damage in Los Cabos and disruption to the large resort town was limited to power outages and flooded roads. There were no immediate reports of significant damage to property, the head of civil protection said.
Elshewere, more than 15,000 families deemed to be living in high-risk areas were evacuated from their homes and there were several reports of flooded streets. Across the region, the local hotel association estimated that some 7,000 tourists (including 2,000 in Los Cabos) would have left or been evacuated by the time the storm arrived. Mexican officials warned Jimena will continue to pose a serious threat as it makes its way up the coast.
Sources: National Hurricane Center, WSI, Associated Press, Agence France Presse, Reuters News
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