Tommy's #1 SHANIA TWAIN SuperSite Message Board

Members Login
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Tourists flee giant Hurricane Jimena


Status: Offline
Posts: 2066
Tourists flee giant Hurricane Jimena

Powerful Hurricane Jimena buffets Mexico resort 

Reuters Jason Lange

Hurricane Jimena, an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, slammed Mexico's Baja California peninsula on Tuesday, drenching the Los Cabos resort area where tourists hunkered in boarded-up hotels.

Sheets of rain poured down from gray skies as Jimena's howling winds hit the tip of the peninsula, home to world-class golf courses, yachting marinas and five-star hotels. The hurricane was set to make landfall on Wednesday in a sparsely populated area farther up the peninsula.

Hotels nailed boards over their windows, wrapped exposed furniture with plastic and turned conference rooms into storm shelters with camp bedding and board games.

A swanky beachfront hotel at Cabo San Lucas tied a fountain statue of sea god Neptune to palm trees and anchored a lobby chandelier to the ground with ropes to stop them blowing away.

Residents, many of them poor hotel workers or builders, huddled in shelters. Torrential rain flooded main roads, turned streets in one shanty town into muddy rivers and caused a sewage system in the town of San Jose del Cabo to overflow.

Many tourists were trapped as flights out were cancelled.

"I've never experienced anything remotely like this," said real estate investor Reg Wilson, 36, from Orange County, California. "I have no idea what to expect. We don't have a lot of options so we just have to ride this out."

Jimena came close overnight to becoming a Category 5 storm -- the top of the Saffir-Simpson scale and potentially devastating -- but winds later calmed to 135 mph (215 kph) with higher gusts, the U.S. National Hurricane Centre said.

People in Los Cabos were still scared. "I've never seen a storm this big in the 23 years I have lived here," said Caterina Acevedo.

Jimena's winds knocked down a power line, which lay on the ground firing sparks into the air, and Mexicans from a slum just north of Los Cabos fretted as they sheltered in a school that their flimsy homes could blow away or sink into mud.

"People are really worried," said Ilda Ramirez, 33, who lives in a shack made from cardboard and scrap materials. "I know we could end up losing everything."


Mexico has no oil installations or significant coffee and mining interests in the area. Cabo San Lucas port was closed.

An Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development meeting of officials from dozens of countries to discuss tax havens had to be moved from Los Cabos to Mexico City.

Much of Baja California is desert and mountains that are popular with nature lovers, surfers, sport fishermen and retirees. Los Cabos, normally bathed in brilliant sun from dawn to dusk, attracts planeloads of tourists all year round.

"We did a last-minute booking and ended up getting a hurricane," said tourist Cathy Hallock, 60, from California.

Many residents of shanty towns refused to leave, despite city buses waiting to take them to emergency shelters.

Jimena was about 110 miles (175 km) south of Los Cabos and moving northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).

The Hurricane Centre forecast it would dump 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm) of rain on southern Baja California and create a storm surge and significant coastal flooding. It urged people to take measures to protect life and property. "Jimena is expected to remain a major hurricane until landfall," it said.

Yachts, water taxis and glass-bottomed boats had been removed from the water at the port of Cabo San Lucas.

Colleen Johnson, 55, who just moved here from Canada, stocked up on water, batteries and canned food. "We're a little leery, but I think we are doing everything right," she said at a Wal-Mart store that had run out of rain ponchos.

Jimena is the second hurricane of the 2009 eastern Pacific season to pound Mexico after Andres swept a fisherman to his death in Acapulco in June.

(Additional reporting by Susy Buchanan; Writing by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Eric Beech)

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to

Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard