Odile Degrades to Tropical Storm over Baja California

Hurricane Odile has been downgraded to a tropical storm after it hit tourist regions of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, where it caused severe damage to urban infrastructure and forced the evacuation of around 11,000 people without causing fatalities.
Odile, which on Monday reached category 4 on the Saffir Simpson (total 5 levels), was gradually downgraded later in the day when it blew ashore over Baja California.
The National Weather Service (SMN) said in its bulletin at 22.15 (03.15 GMT Tuesday) that the storm was 35 km south-southwest from Mulege and 95 km northwest from Lorete, in Baja.
The storm was moving north-northwest with a speed of 20 kph while generating sustained winds of 110 kph and gusts of up to 140.
The SMN issued a tropical storm warning in an area from San Lazaro to San Quintin on the state’s western coast, and also on the eastern coast from San Evaristo to Santa Rosalia.
The warning was also issued in the region from Topolobampo in Sinaloa state to Punta Libertad in Sonora State.
Authorities said that the towns of Los Cabos and San Jose del Cabo were cut off due to damage and floods caused by the storm.
More than 200,000 people were estimated to have no electricity in the entire state.
The authorities added that some hotels, which are temporarily sheltering thousands of tourists, were also cut off and relief teams were attempting to reach them.
Luis Puente, the chief of Mexico’s civil defense agency, said there were no immediate reports of fatalities and that 164 shelters were set up for the 11,000 people who were evacuated from their homes.
He also said that 30,000 tourists have been stranded in the state and that the Mexican government had launched an airlift to evacuate the stranded tourists from Los Cabos and La Paz.
Personnel from government naval, military and police agencies were being rushed to the storm-struck region to assist evacuees, help in recovery efforts and distribute food, water, shelter and medical supplies.
The SMN reported that there was an 80 percent probability for a cyclone to develop south of Tehuantepec Gulf over the next 48 hours.
Currently it is located at 620 km south from Puerto Angel, Oaxaca, and is moving west-northwest with sustained winds of 45 kph and gusts of up to 55.
Original: www.laht.com