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Hurricane Jimena weakens

The storm hits Baja with 80-mph wind and heavy rain. There is little

September 03, 2009|Associated Press

LOS CABOS, MEXICO — Hurricane Jimena plowed over Baja California on Wednesday, tearing off roofs, knocking down power poles and bringing welcome rainfall to a drought-stricken state.

The storm's winds decreased from 150 mph on Tuesday to 80 mph by the time it made landfall between Puerto San Andresito and San Jaunico, a sparsely populated area of fishing villages on the Pacific coast of the peninsula.

Wind gusts and heavy rains tore down dozens of trees and lampposts in Loreto, the nearest significant resort town, said Humberto Carmona, a city official at an emergency response center. About 500 people were in shelters in Loreto, which is on the other side of the narrow peninsula from where Jimena made landfall.

The picturesque beach resorts of Los Cabos, on the southernmost tip, were mostly spared when the roaring hurricane blew past during the night. It toppled signs, choked streets with mud and knocked out power, but did little serious damage. No injuries were reported.

Jimena weakened from a Category 4 to a Category 1 storm. The U.S. National Hurricane Center expected it to weaken further as it runs north up the Baja peninsula, home to about 3.5 million people.

Wednesday evening, Jimena was about 40 miles south of Santa Rosalita, and moving north at about 12 mph.

Winds damaged some homes in the small farming city of Ciudad Constitucion, Baja California Sur Gov. Narciso Agundez told the Cabo Mil radio station.

Forecasters predicted that the hurricane would drop 5 to 10 inches of rain on Baja deserts, and formerly dry stream beds already were gushing torrents.

The storm is expected to head back out over the Pacific.

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