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Hurricane Newton Smashes Into Mexico’s Luxury Resort Area of Los Cabos

Hurricane Newton bared down on Mexico's western coast Tuesday, knocking out power and grounding flights, leaving tourists hunkered down in the upscale resorts and residents prepared for another day of heavy rain and the dangerous floods that might follow.

The Category-2 storm was generating hurricane-force winds 40 miles from its center as it barreled toward the Gulf of California at 8 a.m. local time (11 a.m. ET), according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane warnings were in effect across the resorts of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, twin luxury destinations in the municipality of Los Cabos. Tropical-storm warnings were in place farther north up the coast.

Heavy rainfall of up to 10 inches through Wednesday could trigger "life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the Weather Channel reported.

California-based storm-chaser Josh Morgerman was in Cabo San Lucas when the storm hit.

More than a third of all flights arriving and departing at Los Cabos International Airport on Tuesday had been canceled by 9 a.m. local time (12 p.m. ET), according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.

About 14,000 tourist remained in Los Cabos overnight Monday said Genaro Ruiz, the state tourism secretary. Ruiz said tourists had been advised to remain in their hotels.

"The most important thing is to stay at home," said Carlos Godinez, a civil defense official for Baja California Sur. "If there is nothing that requires you to be outside, take shelter with your family."

Roberto Dominguez, a customer relations worker at the Fairfield Marriot in Cabo San Lucas said guests hunkered down in their rooms overnight. He said the hotel's windows and balconies had been sufficiently protected from the storm and tourists were fine in the morning, although without cellphone or internet service.

Meanwhile, residents prepared for the oncoming storm Monday by nailing plywood over windows and opening 18 shelters across the two resorts, as well as 38 others across other parts of Baja California Sur state.

"There is no need for mass buying," Los Cabos Mayor Arturo de la Rosa Escalante said. "There is enough food and fuel for the next 20 days."

On Monday, torrential rains from then-Tropical Storm Newton prompted some 100 people to evacuate their homes and damaged residences in Uruapan in the Pacific coast state of Michoacan, the city government reported.

Some roads were blocked by flooding and mudslides in the neighboring state of Guerrero, where some people were evacuated by helicopter. No deaths were reported in either state.

Image:
Workers board up a storefront in preparation for Hurricane Newton, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on Sept. 5. Eduardo Verdugo / AP

The storm is expected to make a second landfall Wednesday over Mexico's mainland before hitting the U.S. on Wednesday night as a tropical depression, the National Hurricane Center said.

According to the Weather Channel, parts of Arizona and New Mexico could be in line for up to 5 inches of rain between Wednesday and Thursday, the Weather Channel reported.

It's not the first time Los Cabos has been walloped. Hurricane Odile — the most powerful storm to ever hit the Baja California Peninsula — ravaged the tourist hotspot in September 2014.

Parts of some hotels collapsed, more than 130 people were injured. Tourists reported the lack of water and food, and even looting in some areas.