Hurricane Odile Ravages Baja California

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Hurricanes like Odile have the potential to ravage coastal towns. / Image: drpavloff via Flickr CC

Hurricane Odile slammed into Baja California, the northernmost state of Mexico, which is home to many luxury resorts, in the early morning hours on Monday September 15th. Odile tore through Cabo San Lucas Sunday evening around 9:45PM PDT according to the US National Hurricane Center. Tourists and locales took shelter in Los Cabos and other resorts Sunday in expectation of Odile’s arrival. Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters reports that this is the strongest hurricane to strike the Baja coast since 1967.

According to Dr. Masters, “Since July, the Eastern Pacific has had ocean temperatures about 0.6°c above average and win shear about 20% below average. The region has been dominated by moist, rising air and low pressure, leading to above average vertical instability. All of these factors are favorable for an active hurricane season,” of what we can expect to see in the next few months.

Hurricane Odile was a Category 3 storm when it made landfall. A storm of Category 3 strength can produce sustained winds of up to 115 mph in addition to large volumes of rainfall. The storm produced 24-foot tall waves, prompting the Mexican government to urge caution on local fisherman and any others near the coastal waters.

Odile has produced dangerous amounts of flooding and rainfall, which have prompted evacuations and required many people be rescued, stranded in their cars. Additional rainfall anywhere between 6–15 inches can be expected along the Baja coast, according to the Weather Channel. Combined with hurricane-force winds, these large volumes of rainfall are especially dangerous because they can cause flash floods and mudslides.

Luis Felipe Puente, head of Mexico’s national public safety department, reported on the damages to Cabo San Lucas via his Twitter account. While there were several reports of injuries, mostly due to falling glass, there have been no deaths yet to be reported. Early estimates put roughly 200,000 people without electricity in Odile’s wake.

Mexican officials are urging all people in the area to “take extreme precautions and remain alert.”

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