Residents of Mexico’s Los Cabos resorts rushed to prepare Friday as Hurricane Norma headed toward the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, while in the Atlantic, Tammy grew into a hurricane and threatened to batter the Leeward Islands.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Tammy had grown into a hurricane, with winds of 75 mph. Hurricane warnings were issued for the islands of Guadeloupe, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Anguilla and St. Maarten.
Both hurricanes are expected to be nearing land by Saturday, but rains were expected to begin hitting Friday night.
The hurricane center said Norma had 110 mph maximum sustained winds and was located about 220 miles south of Cabo San Lucas. The Category 2 storm was moving north-northwest at 8 mph.
At the marina in Cabo San Lucas, José Ceseña was hauling out of the water the boat he usually uses to ferry tourists around on tours.
With the port closed and a hurricane coming on, Ceseña said it wasn’t worth risking his craft.
Hotels in Los Cabos, which are largely frequented by foreign tourists, remained about three-quarters full and there has been no major move by visitors to leave, Baja California Sur state tourism secretary Maribel Collins said.
The local hotel association estimated there were about 40,000 tourists still in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo on Friday.
The government posted 500 marines to the resort to help with storm preparations. Los Cabos municipal officials said that as many as 44 emergency shelters could be opened if needed, and that evacuations would start in some low-lying areas located away from the coastal tourist zone.
A hurricane warning was issued for the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, and the forecast track would then take Norma toward the mainland of Mexico’s western Pacific coast state of Sinaloa as a tropical storm.
The Pacific coast port of Manzanillo was also closed to small craft as a precaution, and the government of Baja California Sur state canceled some classes.
Norma was expected to continue weakening Friday as it neared land.
National Hurricane Center specialist John Cangialosi said the storm was expected to continue moving north into Saturday but then slow to a crawl “and should be just kind of hanging out near the southern portion of the Baja California Peninsula.”
The concerns, especially if the storm slowed rather than passing quickly, were significant winds and heavy rain, he said.
In the Atlantic, Hurricane Tammy was 145 miles east-southeast of the Caribbean island of Martinique and was moving west-northwest at 7 mph.
Tammy was expected to remain at hurricane strength as it moved toward the Leeward Islands through Saturday as it passes by Guadeloupe, Antigua and Barbuda. Both Martinique and Guadeloupe are French overseas departments.