Tuesday, September 16, 2014

México: Ten-Meter Waves (33 Feet) Poised to Hit Baja California Sur

According to The Latin American TribuneHurricane Odile is poised to hit the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, where the popular tourist resort of Los Cabos is located, early Monday, causing up to 10-meter high waves (33 feet), Mexico’s National Meteorological Service (SMN) said.

On September 14, Odile became a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which goes to a maximum of 5, and later lessened to a Category 3.

“It will strike within the next three hours” the region of Los Cabos and affect “five municipalities in the zone, especially La Paz and Loreto,” the latest SMN bulletin said.

The announcement, issued around midnight Sunday, stated that the hurricane originated about 45 kilometers (28 miles) to the south-east of Cabo San Lucas and 185 kilometers (114 miles) to the south south-east of La Paz.

Odile is moving in north north-east at 28 kph with winds of up to 205 kph and gusts measuring up to 250 kph.

Since “the effects of Odile will extend to the coasts of Sonora and Sinaloa,” both those states in north-eastern México have also been put on alert.

As a result of the tropical cyclone, “torrential rains (150-250 mm) have been forecast in Baja California Sur; intense rains (75-150 mm) in Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco and Colima; heavy rains (25-50 mm) in Durango, Michoacan and Guerero, and light rains (0.1-25 mm) in Sonora, Chihuahua, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes.”

“Odile will generate winds over 120 kph and waves with a height of 4 to 10 meters in the southern and western coast of Baja California peninsula, due to which vessels at sea, near the hurricane zone, have been asked to exercise caution.”

According to an SMN bulletin, the hurricane had “an erratic trajectory,” thus leading to changes “in its pattern of advancement regarding its route as well as speed” as it moved towards land.

COMMENT: So far, there has only been “significant rainfall” but no damage.

Since Baja California is a narrow stretch of land, the effects would be felt in almost the entire peninsula.

México’s Civil Protection Agency has set up 264 temporary shelters that can accommodate up to 30,000 people, and people residing in the most vulnerable regions are already being moved.

Despite Los Cabos being one of the most important Mexican tourist spots and the long weekend due to Mexican Independence Day celebrations, hotels have a low occupancy as most of the visitors are from the United States and do not celebrate this holiday.

Last year, the tropical cyclones Ingrid and Manuel struck Mexican soil, causing 157 deaths as well as considerable material damage.

In the current season, the Pacific region has witnessed the hurricanes Amanda, Cristina, Iselle, Hernan, Julio, Karina, Marie and Norbert, as well as the tropical storms Boris, Douglas, Elida, Fausto, Genevieve, Lowell and Odile.

Until now, Boris is the only one to have hit México along the coast of the southern state of Chiapas.