Hurricane Odile Slammed into Mexico’s Baja California peninsula on Sunday night rather fiercely. The winds snapped pristine majestic trees as if they were mere twigs, and heavy rains utterly washed out roads, leaving 30,000 tourists and 4000 local residents stranded and trapped in Cabo San Lucas. While the stormed waned down to a category 1 hurricane, it brought heavy rains which caused large scale flooding through the region.
The winds devastated the area causing wide spread property damage, luckily no one was seriously injured. One resorts swimming pool was swept into the ocean the storm was so strong. The storm broke nearly every window in the resort town, including car and truck windows. The winds even toppled cars. One local resident stated “It looks like a middle east war zone here”.
Water entered into the first floor of buildings, and residents and tourists alike scrambled to protect their personal possessions from flood damage. As the storm moved on, the tail end of the storm caused more damage than the beginning of the storm did. More Debris, and high winds came following the storms exit from the area before calm finally settled in the affected areas. Mexico is post phoning their Independence day celebrations in Baja, which was Tuesday due to the havoc of the storm. The Mexican army is air lifting out some 30,000 stranded tourists to cities like Mazatlan, Guadalajara and Mexico City and Tijuana, which is the largest city on the Baja California Peninsula. From Tijuana the tourists will catch flights home. While the Los Cabos international airport terminal is littered with debris and has been damaged, the Mexican army made the runway useable to begin the airlifting process.
By Monday evening the storm had traveled to about 30 miles from Loreto, Mexico with sustained winds clocking in at 75 MPH as it headed further northwest. The hurricane was expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm by early Tuesday, and it has indeed been downgraded, however it still poses much danger due to the torrential rains it will be bringing to the American Southwest, including Arizona and New Mexico, and parts of Texas, in fact the rains from this storm will reach as far as Austin Texas come Wednesday or Thursday.
Mexican authorities are warning of yet even more landslides and flooding in the coming days, as even though the bulk of the storm has moved on they are being hit with the tail end of the storm. Shelters for up to 30,000 people have been prepared for various areas in Mexico effected by the storm. The number of shelters prepared is 164 shelters, although it is unclear why the shelters were not made ready before the storm made landfall, given the advance warning. Several areas of Baja are without power, and it could take days for the power to be restored, entire electric poles were snapped in half. Water and phone service is also out for many locals, the ones whose homes remain intact that is. San Jose Del Cabo looks utterly devastated by the storm, with debris everywhere and wide spread structural damage. Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed, leaving many locals homeless in the wake of the storm. Wide spread looting occurred following the storm, with local stores stripped of food, alcohol, batteries, water and other sundry items. The looting continued until the Mexican army arrived and put an end to the looting.
While Hurricane Odile has been downgraded to a tropical storm, it continues to soak parts of the Baja California Peninsula. Flash flooding and mudslides in the area can still occur officials caution. Despite the massive property damage, no loss of life is reported, and only 135 people were treated for minor injuries. Local residents meanwhile have begun the long process of cleaning up and restoring properties and roadways, a process that could take weeks if not months. Tropical storm Odile continues its trek into the American Southwest as of Wednesday.