Hurricane Norma Targets Mexico’s Los Cabos Resorts, While Hurricane Tammy Endangers Atlantic Islands

by Ethan Kim
Natural Disasters

Inhabitants of Mexico’s renowned Los Cabos resorts are hastily making preparations as Hurricane Norma advances toward the southern extremity of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, with expected landfall on Saturday. Concurrently, Hurricane Tammy poses a significant risk to the Lesser Antilles islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

Local businesses in Cabo San Lucas fortified their windows with plywood sheets, and authorities erected banners cautioning people against crossing ravines and waterways, following Norma’s intensification into a major storm on Friday.

By early hours of Saturday, Hurricane Norma experienced a slight weakening and was reclassified as a Category 2 storm, based on the hurricane wind scale. According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, it was situated 30 miles west-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, sustaining winds of 100 mph and moving at a pace of 8 mph.

The storm’s sluggish movement increased the likelihood of severe flooding. Forecasters expect Norma to deliver between six and 12 inches of rain, with isolated areas receiving up to 18 inches, primarily affecting southern Baja California and a large portion of Sinaloa state.

The National Civil Protection Agency reported that shelters in Baja California accommodated approximately 1,500 individuals as of Saturday morning. The Civil Defense agency of Los Cabos advised locals to remain indoors throughout the day as meteorological conditions deteriorated. Emergency responders were active in evacuating residents from vulnerable regions and relocating them to safe shelters.

Local law enforcement in San Jose del Cabo successfully rescued two individuals from a vehicle that had been carried away by a surging waterway early on Saturday.

Despite the imminent threat, Los Cabos hotels, predominantly patronized by international tourists, remained about 75% occupied, with no substantial exodus reported, according to Maribel Collins, Baja California Sur’s tourism secretary. Due to inclement weather, several flights were canceled on Friday, and airports remained closed on Saturday, per the local Civil Defense office’s information.

Approximately 40,000 tourists were estimated to still be in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo as of Friday. Restricted mobility options left visitors with little choice but to stay put. For example, a couple from San Diego remained in the area as their sports fishing tournament was postponed. The local port was also closed as a precautionary measure.

In preparation for the storm, José Ceseña, a local boat operator, took the precaution of removing his vessel from the water. Similarly, beaches were ordered closed, and National Guard troops were deployed to evacuate people from coastal areas.

The federal government dispatched 500 marines to assist in storm preparations, and municipal authorities indicated the potential for opening as many as 39 emergency shelters if required.

A formal hurricane warning was declared for the southern region of the Baja California Peninsula. Although expected to lose some of its intensity upon nearing land, Norma was not projected to weaken as much as initially anticipated.

Simultaneously, in the Atlantic, the U.S. National Hurricane Center stated that Hurricane Tammy maintained winds of 85 mph and was advancing at a speed of 8 mph. Hurricane warnings were issued for Guadeloupe, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, and St. Kitts and Nevis. Tammy was predicted to maintain its strength, even showing signs of slight intensification as it moved closer to the Lesser Antilles over the weekend.

Tammy’s anticipated course would carry it close to Guadeloupe, Antigua, and Barbuda. Both Guadeloupe and Martinique are French overseas departments. The hurricane center indicated a high probability of substantial rainfall and resultant flooding across much of the Lesser Antilles.

Still grappling with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Phillippe, which struck two weeks ago, as well as the lingering devastation of Hurricane Irma in 2017, residents of the affected islands were bracing for Tammy’s arrival. The slow-moving system was forecasted to bring as much as 12 inches of rain over the already saturated twin-island nation.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne advised residents to take all necessary precautions to protect lives and property, highlighting the elevated risk of flooding due to soil saturation. Government facilities, financial institutions, and most non-retail businesses ceased operations early on Friday, enabling staff to prepare for the impending hurricane.

Traffic congestion was evident throughout St. John’s and adjacent to major shopping locales as residents rushed to procure essential items. Local disaster management authorities announced intentions to open around 40 shelters throughout the affected communities.

Contributions to this report were made by AP writer Anika Kentish in St. John’s, Antigua.

For further updates on climate-related news, visit: AP Climate and Environment Coverage

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hurricane Preparedness

What areas are primarily affected by Hurricane Norma?

The primary areas affected by Hurricane Norma include Mexico’s Los Cabos resorts and the southern region of the Baja California Peninsula.

Who is impacted by Hurricane Tammy?

Hurricane Tammy poses a significant threat to the islands of the Lesser Antilles, including Guadeloupe, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, and St. Kitts and Nevis.

What precautions are being taken in Los Cabos?

Businesses are fortifying windows with plywood, and local authorities have set up warnings and evacuated residents from low-lying areas. Emergency shelters have also been established.

How are tourists in Los Cabos affected?

Hotels in Los Cabos remain approximately 75% occupied, and flights have been canceled. With local airports closed, tourists have limited options for leaving the area.

What are the expected consequences of the storms?

Both hurricanes raise concerns of severe flooding. Hurricane Norma is expected to deliver between six and 12 inches of rain in affected areas, while Hurricane Tammy is also expected to bring substantial rainfall and flooding to the Lesser Antilles.

Are any emergency services deployed?

Yes, the federal government has dispatched 500 marines to assist with storm preparations in Los Cabos, and National Guard troops are clearing people from coastal areas. In the Lesser Antilles, local disaster management officials plan to open around 40 shelters.

How are the storms expected to progress?

Hurricane Norma is expected to weaken slightly upon nearing land but not as much as initially anticipated. Hurricane Tammy is expected to maintain or slightly increase its strength as it moves closer to the Lesser Antilles.

What are the transportation impacts?

Airports in Los Cabos are closed, and flights have been canceled. Local ports have also been closed as a precautionary measure, affecting both local and tourist maritime activities.

What is the status of emergency shelters?

In Baja California, shelters have already accommodated approximately 1,500 individuals. Municipal authorities indicate that as many as 39 additional emergency shelters could be opened if required.

How recent are similar events in affected areas?

The Lesser Antilles are still recovering from the impacts of Tropical Storm Phillippe, which struck two weeks ago, and Hurricane Irma in 2017. Residents are advised to prepare for severe flooding due to already saturated soil.

More about Hurricane Preparedness

  • Hurricane Preparedness Guidelines
  • U.S. National Hurricane Center Updates
  • Baja California Civil Protection Agency
  • Los Cabos Tourism Advisory
  • Lesser Antilles Disaster Management
  • Tropical Storm Phillippe Aftermath Report
  • 2017 Hurricane Irma Impact Analysis
  • Emergency Shelter Locations in Baja California
  • Emergency Services Deployment in Natural Disasters
  • Impact of Hurricanes on Infrastructure and Economy

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SafetyFirst October 21, 2023 - 7:39 pm

Reminder to all, follow the local guidelines and stay indoors. don’t underestimate the power of Mother Nature.

WeatherNerd October 21, 2023 - 9:19 pm

Interesting to see both Norma and Tammy threatening at the same time. The climate is really changing, isnt it?

CaribbeanLife October 22, 2023 - 2:27 am

Tammy’s also heading for Lesser Antilles? Man, these islands cant catch a break. Still recovering from Phillippe and now this.

LocalResident October 22, 2023 - 5:56 am

Just boarded up my windows here in Cabo. The city’s taking a lot of precautions, which is reassuring but also kinda scary.

JohnDoe October 22, 2023 - 6:00 am

Wow, hurricanes hitting both Pacific and Atlantic at the same time? that’s crazy. Stay safe everyone.

MomOfThree October 22, 2023 - 6:30 am

1,500 ppl in shelters already? thats a lot. Hope everyone stays safe, especially the kids.

GlobalWatcher October 22, 2023 - 7:05 am

Hurricanes on both sides, flooding expected, and emergency services deployed. Quite a situation we’ve got. Hope for the best.

EcoActivist October 22, 2023 - 8:59 am

Severe flooding expected, huh? We really need to think long term about our impact on the environment.

Investor101 October 22, 2023 - 9:05 am

Wonder how this will affect the tourism industry, especially in Los Cabos. Might be a risky investment right now.

TravelGuru October 22, 2023 - 11:02 am

good to know the hotels are still ok in Los Cabos, but honestly, why would anyone stick around for this? Time to rebook that vacation.


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