IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Jimena weakens, drenches drought-hit region

A once-dangerous and powerful Hurricane Jimena mellowed into a soggy, drifting tropical storm Thursday, bringing much needed rain to Mexico's drought-stricken Baja California peninsula.
Image: Category 1 hurricane Jimena made landfall in Mexico
Hurricane Jimena left buildings damaged in the small farming city of Ciudad Constitucion, Mexico.Jorge Nunez / EPA
/ Source: The Associated Press

A once-dangerous and powerful Hurricane Jimena mellowed into a soggy, drifting tropical storm Thursday, bringing much needed rain to Mexico's drought-stricken Baja California peninsula.

Forecasters still warned of flash floods and large waves, but even those were expected to gradually subside as the slow-moving storm made its way up the peninsula and then back out over the Pacific Ocean.

Earlier this week, tourists evacuated and residents sought shelter as Jimena roared toward the multimillion-dollar resorts of Los Cabos as a Category 4 hurricane, with winds topping 150 mph. But the beaches and condominiums where Hollywood stars vacation year-round were mostly spared, and the hurricane has since moved its way north ripping off some roofs and toppling power poles in smaller farm towns and fishing villages.

Loreto, the nearest significant resort town to the area where Jimena made landfall, suffered some damage to homes and streets, as well as Ciudad Constitucion, an inland town.

But a few days in, the benefits of this Pacific storm were starting to outweigh the damage.

"Fortunately, this kind of weather phenomenon we're going through brings with it a lot of water," National Water Commissioner Jose Luis Luege Tamargo told the Cabo Mill radio station. "This rain undoubtedly will fill up the aquifers of the whole region."

Jimena was not expected to provide any relief from fierce wildfires in Southern California, however, as it headed north back over the Pacific, said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

At 2 p.m. ET Thursday, Jimena's maximum sustained winds had decreased to about 40 mph. The storm was centered about 40 miles northeast of Santa Rosalia, Mexico, and was nearly stationary, the Hurricane Center said.

The area where Jimena made landfall is just south of the San Ignacio Lagoon, a nature reserve where gray whales migrate each year from as far north as Alaska to breed.

While the whales don't arrive in Baja until December, reserve Director Mario Alberto Rodriguez expressed concern about possible damage to the cabins, docks and other facilities used for whale-watching, an increasingly popular tourist attraction. Rodriguez pledged the reserve would be ready when the whales arrive.