Hurricane Blanca nears Baja California, Mexico
Hurricane Blanca: Residents are preparing for the hurricane to hit, though it has weakened overnight.
Residents boarded up home and storefront windows around the resort area of Los Cabos in preparation for a weakening Hurricane Blanca as it neared the Baja California Peninsula on Sunday.
After strengthening rapidly to a Category 4 storm on Saturday, Blanca was downgraded to Category 1 the following day. It was expected to weaken further to a tropical storm and pass to the west of the peninsula's southern tip, moving near or along its southwestern coastline in the evening and on Monday.
But with memories still fresh from Hurricane Odile, which battered ramshackle homes, stores and luxury hotels when it made a direct hit on Los Cabos as a Category 3 storm in September, authorities put thousands of troops on alert and issued maritime warnings.
Some high-end hotels that suffered severe damage from Odile have still not reopened as they continue to undergo repairs and remodeling.
Locals nailed down roof material and dragged food stands in from the beach in Cabo San Lucas, even as some tourists strolled the sand taking selfies in front of the cloudy skies and rising surf.
Mexico's National Water Commission warned of strong winds, thunderstorms and "extraordinary rainfall," with possible localized accumulations of 10 inches (250 millimeters) or more in Baja California Sur state, which is home to Los Cabos.
Los Cabos Civil Protection director Wenceslao Pettit said conditions were calm and the area had begun to experience light rains associated with Blanca. He added that no evacuations were being carried out, although nine emergency shelters had been readied, and the port was closed to small watercraft.
Blanca's maximum sustained winds had decreased Sunday to near 80 mph (130 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The hurricane's center was about 150 miles (245 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas and moving north-northwest near 9 mph (15 kph).
A hurricane watch was in effect from Cabo San Lucas to Santa Fe. A tropical storm warning was in effect from Loreto to Punta Abreojos, including Cabo San Lucas.