Hurricanes hit Mexico, near Lesser Antilles

Employees cover the windows of a souvenirs store with wood in preparation for the arrival of the hurricane Norma, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. Hurricane Norma is heading for the resorts of Los Cabos at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, while Tammy grew into a hurricane in the Atlantic. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico -- Hurricane Norma made landfall near the resorts of Los Cabos at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula on Saturday afternoon, then later weakened to a tropical storm over land.

In the Atlantic, Hurricane Tammy was very near Barbuda and threatened to batter the islands of the Lesser Antilles.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Norma, once a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph near el Pozo de Cota, west-northwest of Cabo San Lucas.

Norma later weakened to a tropical storm with 70 mph winds as it crossed the Baja California Peninsula toward the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.

By late Saturday afternoon, Norma was centered about 30 miles north-northeast of Cabo San Lucas, the National Hurricane Center said. It was moving north-northeast at 6 mph, but was expected to take a harder turn toward the east today.

Late Saturday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said via the platform X, formerly Twitter, that there had so far been no reported loss of life from the storm.

In Cabo San Lucas, curious tourists began to pick their way along debris-strewn beaches after the storm passed.

Its languid pace raised the possibility of severe flooding. Norma was expected to dump 6 to 12 inches of rain with a maximum of 18 inches in places across southern Baja California and much of Sinaloa state.

John Cangialosi, a senior specialist at the National Hurricane Center, said the area is vulnerable to rain because it is a dry region generally.

"Six to 12 inches of rain is what is generally forecast, but there could be pockets of up to 18 inches of rain and we do think that will be the most significant impact that could result in flash and urban flooding and mudslides," he said.

Baja California Sur Gov. Victor Castro said via the platform X that "because it's moving slowly, greater damages are anticipated."

But little damage was initially reported. Some trees and power poles were down, but there were no reports of injuries.

Police in San Jose del Cabo rescued two people from their truck when a surging stream swept it away early Saturday. Some informal settlements, away from the hotels that serve tourists, were already isolated by rising water.

Hotels in Los Cabos, which are largely frequented by foreign tourists, remained about three-quarters full and visitors made no major moves to leave en masse, Baja California Sur's 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.

In the Atlantic, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Tammy had winds of 85 mph, and hurricane warnings were issued for the islands of Guadeloupe, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, and St. Kitts and Nevis. Tammy was moving northwest at 17 mph.

In early evening, the storm was centered about 15 miles east-southeast of Barbuda and 30 miles north-northeast of the Caribbean island of Antigua. The hurricane center said in a report that "heavy rainfall and flooding [are] likely over much of the Lesser Antilles."

Two weeks after Tropical Storm Philippe rolled through Antigua and Barbuda, dumping 6 to 8 inches of rain and plunging both islands into darkness, residents of the islands braced for Tammy's arrival. The slow-moving system was forecast to bring up to 12 inches over a twin island nation where the devastation of Hurricane Irma in 2017 and recent wind damage and flooding from Philippe are still fresh memories.

Information for this article was contributed by Anika Kentish of The Associated Press.