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Hurricane Jimena churns slowly toward Baja

Officials urge the public to take precautions at the tip of the peninsula in Mexico. An OECD tax meeting that was to be held in Los Cabos is moved to Mexico City, out of the storm's likely path.

September 01, 2009|Ken Ellingwood

MEXICO CITY — The approach of a powerful hurricane on Monday prompted officials to move an international tax gathering away from Baja California.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said the two-day meeting would be shifted to Mexico City today and Wednesday to avoid possible dangers from Hurricane Jimena. The group was to have met in Los Cabos, on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, which stands in the likely path of the storm.

Jimena, just short of Category 5 status, was packing top sustained winds near 155 mph. It churned well off Mexico's Pacific coast on Monday as it moved slowly toward Baja California. The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said the storm could reach Los Cabos, a municipality home to Cabo San Lucas and other prime vacation spots, by late today.

Category 5 hurricanes -- the top danger rating -- include winds of 156 mph.

"Mexico's national authorities are advising to take all possible precautions," the Paris-based OECD said in a statement. "In light of this and in coordination with Mexican authorities, the OECD has decided to move the meeting to Mexico City."

Representatives of dozens of countries are expected to attend the OECD's session to encourage nations to share tax information in order to curb tax evasion. The organization's so-called Global Forum last gathered in 2005.

Authorities in Los Cabos were analyzing possible precautions as residents stocked up on water and supplies. Resort workers were shown on Mexican television uprooting beach umbrellas and packing away tables and chairs in preparation for severe weather.

The seaside area is popular among U.S. travelers for its rugged beauty, golf courses and boating. Ravines in the surrounding desert region often flood during heavy rains, posing a danger to the thousands of impoverished residents who inhabit them.

Mexico has had a mild hurricane season, with no direct blows so far this summer. In June, a mild Category 1 hurricane named Andres glided past the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast, dumping heavy rain on parts of Acapulco. A fisherman drowned north of Acapulco in heavy surf.

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ken.ellingwood@latimes.com

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