Satellite image of Hurricane Norbert nearing Mexico's Baja California peninsula. NOAA
LOS CABOS, Mexico - Heavy rains brought by Hurricane Norbert prompted evacuations as the storm roared up the coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. Forecasters said the storm may help bring weekend precipitation to the parched U.S. Southwest.
Baja California Sur state Gov. Marcos Covarrubias urged people in vulnerable areas to evacuate and said travelers should stay off highways as the storm passed by. He said most government services would be closed or restricted, and schools in Los Cabos and La Paz were closed on Friday.
At least 1,000 people remained in shelters Friday evening in Los Cabos, where the storm toppled trees and knocked out electricity in parts of the resort area. Firefighters rescued several people from vehicles stranded in flooded streets, said Wenceslao Pettit, Public Safety director in Cabo San Lucas.
Ports in the area popular with U.S. tourists remained closed to navigation and police officers were sent to the evacuated neighborhoods to prevent looting, Pettit added.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Saturday morning that Norbert had strengthened with maximum sustained winds near 120 mph (195 kph) and it was centered about 95 miles (155 kilometers) west of sparsely populated Cabo San Lazaro.
Forecasters said Norbert, which had reached hurricane strength Wednesday, was headed northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).
The Hurricane Center said Norbert was helping push moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Dolly across northern Mexico and into the southwestern United States, brining possible heavy rains in coming days.