Hurricane Olaf hits Mexican resorts

Hurricane Olaf is expected to weaken on Friday and at the weekend as it moves over land.
Hurricane Olaf is expected to weaken on Friday and at the weekend as it moves over land.

Hurricane Olaf has slammed into the Los Cabos resort at the tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula and then drenched the region with torrential rains as emergency workers evacuated people from flood-prone areas .

The storm came ashore near San Jose del Cabo late Thursday as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 155km/h according to the US National Hurricane Centre.

Authorities worked to move residents from low-lying neighbourhoods to shelters while an estimated 20,000 foreign tourists hunkered down in their hotels.

Officials closed ports and schools in the area, suspended COVID-19 vaccinations and told many nonessential workers to stay home. Businesses had boarded up windows and people lined up for last-minute purchases in supermarkets ahead of the storm.

Some roads already had been cut by flooding ahead of the full storm's arrival, according to local news media.

By morning, the storm was centred about 55km west-southwest of the state capital, La Paz, where a new governor was scheduled to be inaugurated on Friday.

Maximum sustained winds had slipped to about 130km/h and it was expected to weaken further while grinding along the peninsula's coast during the day and then heading out into the Pacific.

Lilzi Orci, president of the Los Cabos Hotels Association, said dozens of domestic and international airline flights were cancelled because of the hurricane.

While COVID-19 pandemic restrictions meant hotels were at less than 40 per cent of capacity, she estimated that 20,000 foreign tourists were in the area.-

The Hurricane Centre forecast 12.5 to 25.5cm of rain on the southern part of the peninsula, with up to 38cm in isolated spots, creating the danger of flash floods and mudslides.

Australian Associated Press