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John Weakens After Hitting Mexico

September 03, 2006|From the Associated Press

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico — John weakened to a tropical storm Saturday just hours after it made landfall as a hurricane in the southern part of Mexico's Baja California peninsula, ripping the roofs from shacks, knocking out power and sending billboards flying.

John was a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds Friday night when it hit land near isolated hamlets northeast of Los Cabos. By Saturday afternoon it had weakened to a tropical storm, and the winds had dropped to 65 mph by evening.

The storm was about 50 miles south of Loreto, a rapidly growing center of retirement and vacation homes for U.S. citizens, moving northwest at 8 mph. It was expected to remain over the peninsula for a day and was forecast to dump up to 18 inches of rain in some areas before hitting cooler water in the Pacific and dying, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

After missing a direct hit on Cabo San Lucas, John hit northwest of La Paz, damaging the city of more than 150,000 people.

One man whose vehicle was swept away by a surge of water was found alive about three miles away, clinging to tree branches. He was in stable condition at a hospital, Los Cabos government spokesman Jorge Castaneda said.

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