After strengthening earlier in the day, Hurricane Blanca weakened slightly Saturday as it continued to push north through the Pacific Ocean towards Baja California Sur and the southern portion of Baja California, forecasters said.
Maximum sustained winds weakened from 130 mph — making it a Category 4 hurricane — to 120 mph and the storm was expected to weaken further, the National Hurricane Center said in a statement.
The storm’s eye passed east of Socorro Island Saturday afternoon and was 225 miles south of Cabo San Lucas as of 11 p.m. ET, the Hurricane Center said, and it was moving northwest toward the popular resort destination at 10 mph. Socorro Island recorded sustained winds of 46 mph and gusts of up to 71 mph as the hurricane passed.
Blanca is expected weaken to a tropical storm by the time its outer bands start hitting the peninsula Sunday night, but could still dump 6 to 10 inches of rain on much of the region, and some areas could get 15 inches, raising the fear of flash flooding and mudslides, the Hurricane Center said.
A hurricane watch was in place Saturday for Cabo San Lucas, which is still recovering from Category 3 Hurricane Odile which ravaged the area in September and was the strongest storm there in 25 years.