Tropical Storm Lidia flooded streets and homes, stranded tourists and left at least four people dead as it lashed resorts and cities on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula with heavy rains.
Authorities said the death toll could rise over the weekend as emergency crews surveyed the damage in villages with ramshackle homes. One person was considered missing and video broadcast on local networks showed vehicles being swept away by flooded rivers.
The mayor of the twin resorts of Los Cabos, Arturo de la Rosa Escalante, on Friday said that two people were electrocuted by power lines, a woman drowned after being swept away by water on a flooded street and a baby was ripped from its mother’s arms as she crossed a flooded area.
Baja California Sur Secretary of Tourism Luis Genero Ruiz said about 20,000 foreign tourists were stranded after airlines suspended flights to the area.
About 1,400 people had sought refuge at storm shelters as the storm flooded streets and stranded tourists.
The US National Hurricane Center said Lidia made landfall early on Friday west of La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur.
Lidia’s wind strength eased to 85kph late on Friday, and further weakening was forecast over the next few days as the storm reaches mountainous terrain.
The center said that Lidia was expected to become a remnant low pressure system late yesterday or today. The storm was centered about 115kph south-southwest of Santa Rosalia, Mexico and was heading northwest at about 19kph.
Lidia earlier spread rains over a broad swath of Mexico including the capital, where it was blamed for flooding that briefly closed the city’s airport this week.
“Some of the tropical moisture from Lidia may reach parts of the desert Southwest this holiday weekend, including southern California, southern Nevada and southwestern Arizona,” the hurricane center said.
Far out over the Atlantic, meanwhile, Category 3 Hurricane Irma was following a course that could bring it near the eastern Caribbean Sea by early next week. It had maximum sustained winds near 185kph and was moving west at 22kph.
Forecasters said Irma was expected to be an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next several days. No coastal watches or warnings were in effect.
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