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What Made Hurricane Odile So Devastating?

Hurricane Odile Leaves Trail of Destruction in Baja Peninsula 1:53

Hurricane Odile slammed into Cabo San Lucas with winds raging at 125 mph on Monday, destroying buildings, flipping cars and injuring at least 135 people. Hurricanes near the Baja California peninsula in Mexico are actually pretty common, said Jack Bevin, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. In fact, several form in the Baja area every year, but only four have made landfall in the peninsula since Hurricane Olivia in 1967. "There have actually been a lot of hurricanes in that area more powerful than Odile, but you don't hear about them because they drift west and die over the cold water," he told NBC News. Odile, a Category 3 hurricane when it hit land, grew strong because the winds in the upper and lower levels of the storm were blowing in the same direction at about the same speed, instead of drifting apart, which could have dissipated the storm. Combined with warm sea temperatures, it was a formula for disaster. It was just bad luck that this one happened to drift toward a popular tourist destination instead of over the ocean. Is this a freak occurrence or a symptom of a climate that is changing? "We just can't tell right now," Bevin said.

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— Keith Wagstaff