Posted on 03 Sep 2009
A day after buffeting Mexico's Baja California peninsula in a hurricane that ripped off roofs and toppled power poles, the now-downgraded Tropical Storm Jimena moved north along the east coast of Baja California early this morning.
The once-massive Category 4 hurricane brought welcome rainfall to a drought-stricken state after making landfall Wednesday afternoon between Puerto San Andresito and San Jaunico, a sparsely populated area of fishing villages on the Pacific coast of the peninsula.
Wind gusts and heavy rains blew down dozens of trees and lamp posts in Loreto, the nearest significant resort town to the area where Jimena made landfall, according to Humberto Carmona, a city official manning an emergency response center. Loreto lies roughly on the other side of the narrow peninsula from where Jimena made landfall.
Officials said similar damage occurred in the small farming city of Ciudad Constitucion, where some residents said they had to flee their houses in the pre-dawn darkness after their roofs were blown off.
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.
The federal government said more than 11,000 people went to shelters in the peninsula at the height of the storm, but Jimena largely bypassed Baja California's best-known resort, Los Cabos, on the southernmost tip. The buffeting winds toppled signs, choked streets with mud and knocked out power, but did little serious damage. No injuries were reported anywhere in the state.