Hurricane Odile Pummels Baja California, Could Bring Flooding Rains to Desert Southwest
Hurricane Odile, a Category 1 storm, is spinning across Baja California; bringing 100-mph winds, torrential rains and high surf to the Mexican peninsula. Odile is currently situated about 65 miles east of Cabo San Larazo and is moving northwest at 14-mph.
Hurricane warnings are in effect from Punta Abreojos to Santa Rosalia. And a tropical storm watch is in effect from Santa Rosalia to Bahia de Los Angeles and from Punta Eugenia. There’s an additional tropical storm watch on the Mexican mainland from Altata to Bahia Kino.
Forecast models and the National Hurricane Center indicate that the storm’s forward progress is likely to slow in the coming days, as meanders over Baja and northwest Mexico. This means a significant influx of rain could be headed to the area, potentially causing serious flooding issues.
Thus far, damage has been reported in Cabo San Lucas — a popular vacation destination — and other locations along the southern tip of Baja California.
Odile — once a Category 4 hurricane — roared ashore late Sunday night, local time, with winds greater than 115-mph. The fierce winds and pounding rains shook high-rise buildings, shattered windows and strew debris around the area.
Some images from social media showed damaged hotels, overturned vehicles and withered-looking palm trees; all an indication of the ferocity of the storm as it moved ashore.
According to a translated version of a Cabo San Lucas newspaper — Tribuna de Los Cabos — people are being advised to stay in their homes. Dangerous conditions are still present in the hurricane impacted areas. Officials also say there’s been some minor looting as well. Power and water services have also been severed and there’s no indication of when they’ll be restored.
The main corridor to the tourist area is also partially closed, meaning vacationers that rode the storm out will have a difficult time getting out of the area in the near-term.
If you have loved-ones visiting the area and are unable to contact them, the United States Consulate in Tijuana has set up a hotline for people to call. The number is 1-888-407-4747, or you can email at OdileEmergencyUSC@state.gov. Check out the State Department’s website for more.
As the wind threat diminishes, heavy rain will be a huge issue for parts of Baja, northwestern Mexico and the Desert Southwest. WeatherNation proprietary models indicate as much as 16 inches of rain could fall on the Baja Peninsula by the end of the week. That constant, heavy rainfall coupled with mountainous terrain is a recipe for significant flooding on the Baja and in parts of northwest Mexico.
A Odile pushes northward, moisture will surge into the Desert Southwest and is likely to fire off more showers and thunderstorms in the normally arid region. A much as 2 to 3 inches of rain is possible for parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Just last week, Phoenix shattered a record for their wettest day ever — receiving more than 3 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. This is also one of the wettest Desert Southwest monsoon seasons in decades.
As of Monday afternoon, no flood watches have been issued for the area, but that’s likely to change as moisture surges northward through the end of the week. Flash flooding will once more be a serious concern for places like Phoenix and Tucson. So if you live in these area stay weather aware in the coming days.
WeatherNation Meteorologists are keeping a close eye on the situation and will bring you the latest as it becomes available.
Below are a collection of images from social media that show the toll Odile has taken on Baja California del Sur.
Meteorologist Alan Raymond