TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
CABO SAN LUCAS — Hurricane Lorena bore down Friday on Mexico’s Los Cabos area as a Category 1 storm.
Lorena was forecast to pass over or near the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula later in the day with heavy winds and soaking rains.
Lorena has maximum sustained winds of 20 kph. It was still about 95 kilometres away, but moving toward Cabo San Lucas at 15 kph. Forecasters predicted damaging winds, flash flooding and life threatening surf along the peninsula.
With preparations going on around them Thursday, visitors strolled along Cabo San Lucas’ main drag buying souvenirs, though also keeping a wary eye on the nearing storm.
“We arrived on Monday and we hope to leave Sunday. … We hope there aren’t big problems,” said Minerva Smith, a traveller from California.
A second tropical storm, Mario, was about 590 kilometres south of the southern tip of the Baja peninsula early Friday and had sustained winds of 100 kilometres. But it wasn’t expected to hit land.
Authorities suspended classes for Friday and prepared to use schools as shelters if necessary. The port of Cabo San Lucas was closed to navigation.
“We are taking preventive measures,” said Baja California Sur state government secretary-general Alvaro de la Pena. “Rations, gasoline, all supplies are guaranteed. There is no need for panic buying.”
A total of 177 properties were available as potential shelters in five municipalities of the state. The region was in a state of yellow alert and anticipating heavy rains.
“Lorena is going to dump a lot of water,” said Carlos Alfredo Godinez, deputy secretary for civil defence in the state.
Lorena came onshore a day earlier as a hurricane in the western Mexican state of Colima, whipping palm trees about with its strong winds and lashing the area with sheets of rain. It flooded streets, washed out roads and touched off minor slides in 10 municipalities. Dozens of trees were downed, and power was knocked out in some areas.
Colima state Gov. Jose Ignacio Peralta said nearly 8 inches of rain had fallen in a little under 24 hours, and more than 7,400 acres of crops were damaged statewide.
But there were no deaths or significant damage to infrastructure, he said.
“There are no losses of human lives to lament,” Peralta said.
Lorena’s brush with land caused it to lose strength and become a tropical storm, but it regained its punch as it headed toward Los Cabos.
In the Atlantic, Hurricane Jerry weakened but was forecast to dump heavy rains on the northern Leeward Islands. It was on a track that was predicted to carry it near the northern Leeward Islands on Friday and well north of Puerto Rico on Saturday before veering well east-northeast of the Bahamas, away from any land.
Its maximum sustained winds stood at 140 kph around midday Friday. It was centred about 205 kilometres east-northeast of Barbuda and was moving to the west-northwest at 28 kph.
In Texas and Louisiana, heavy rains from the remnants of Tropical Depression Imelda flooded low-lying areas and caused at least two deaths.
The National Weather Service said preliminary estimates suggested that Jefferson County in Texas got more than 40 inches of rain in a span of just 72 hours. That would make it the seventh wettest tropical cyclone in U.S. history.