Riding out Hurricane Odile in Cabo San Lucas

Hurricane Odile was the most powerful storm to hit Cabo San Lucas on the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. A Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall, Odile had winds of 125 mph. But the hurricane is losing strength as it moves north.

Residents and tourists hunkered down in shelters and hotel conference rooms overnight as a powerful and sprawling Hurricane Odile made landfall on the southern Baja California peninsula.

The area is home to gleaming megaresorts, tiny fishing communities and low-lying neighborhoods of flimsy homes. Forecasters predicted a dangerous storm surge with large waves as well as drenching rains capable of causing landslides and flash floods.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said satellite imagery indicates Odile's center made landfall Sunday night at about 9:45 p.m. PDT near Cabo San Lucas. It said at landfall, Odile had estimated intensity of 125 mph (205 kph), and an automated station near Cabo San Lucas reported a sustained wind of 89 mph (144 kph) with a gust to 116 mph (187 kph). The storm was moving north-northwest at 17 mph (28 kph).

By early Monday, the storm's maximum sustained winds were near 115 mph (185 kph) as it moved over the peninsula. It was centered about 140 miles (230 kilometers) east-southeast of Cabo San Lazaro.

As howling winds whipped palm trees amid pelting rain outside, people bedded down and used magazines to fan themselves in crowded, stuffy safe rooms. Some did crossword puzzles or listened to iPhones. In one hotel near San Jose del Cabo, power went out not long after nightfall and a generator was keeping minimal lights on.

Denise Mellor, a traveler from Orange County, California, was frustrated about a lack of information about the storm and said she was learning more from her daughter back home than from hotel workers.

"It's a little bit (unsettling) that we don't have a choice but to sit in here and hope for the best," Mellor said. "So that makes me a little bit scared."

Mexican authorities evacuated coastal areas and readied shelters for up to 30,000 people.

"We are going to be hit, do not risk your life," warned Marcos Covarrubias, governor of Baja California Sur.

After reaching Category 4 strength on Sunday, Odile weakened some to Category 3 but was still a major storm. The U.S. hurricane center warned of possible coastal flooding and rainfall of 5 to 10 inches, with isolated amounts up to 15 inches.

On Sunday, police with megaphones walked through vulnerable areas in Cabo San Lucas urging people to evacuate.

"I'm leaving. It's very dangerous here," said Felipa Flores, clutching a plastic bag with a few belongings as she took her two small children from her neighborhood of El Caribe to a storm shelter. "Later on we're going to be cut off and my house of wood and laminated cardboard won't stand up to much."

At least 22 airline flights were canceled. Some tourists camped out at the Los Cabos international airport hoping to get out before the storm, but the facility shut down all air operations late in the afternoon.

Luis Felipe Puente, national coordinator for Mexico's civil protection agency, said 164 shelters had been prepared for as many as 30,000 people in Baja California Sur.

A hurricane warning was in effect from Punta Abreojos to Loreto. Mexican authorities declared a maximum alert for areas in or near Odile's path, and ports in Baja California were ordered closed.

Meanwhile in the central Atlantic, Hurricane Edouard strengthened to a Category 2 storm early Monday with maximum sustained winds near 105 mph (165 kph), although it was forecast to remain far out at sea and pose no threat to land.

The U.S. hurricane center said Edouard's center was 720 miles (1,160 kilometers) east-southeast of Bermuda and was moving northwest at 15 mph (24 kph).

___

Associated Press writer Maria Verza in Mexico City contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.