Tropical storm Lidia claims 4 lives in Mexico’s south Baja California

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Tropical storm Lidia claimed four lives and toppled a building as it barreled through the southern portion of Mexico’s northwest state of Baja California Sur, local authorities reported on Friday.

Two men were electrocuted by downed electricity lines, a woman drowned after falling into a creek and a minor was snatched from its mother’s arms and swept away by a strong current, the state’s undersecretary of Civil Protection, Carlos Godinez, told a local radio station.

The storm made landfall in this part of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula at 7:15 a.m. local time, said Godinez.

Officials were closely watching to see how much damage the storm would wreak in the state’s southern tip, which is home to Mexico’s upscale resort of Los Cabos, a key tourist destination and revenue generator.

Apparently the storm’s passing left Los Cabos soaking and largely without power, but otherwise relatively unscathed, according to President Enrique Pena Nieto.
“The airports have opened in Los Cabos, convenience stores are operating and (the Federal Electricity Commission) reestablished service to 25,000 of the 102,000 (homes) affected,” Pena said on Twitter.

A four-story building built near a creek in Los Cabos collapsed from the heavy rains and winds, and another was evacuated as a precautionary measure after showing structural defects.

“It rained quite a lot and weakened the foundations,” said chief firefighter Juan Carbajal.

Over a period of 36 hours, more than 44 centimeters of rain fell in Cabo San Lucas, one of two tourism hubs in Los Cabos, the National Meteorological Service (SMN) said.

With storm warnings in effect as of Thursday, at least 3,000 residents in Los Cabos had taken refuge at shelters, while some 20,000 tourists hunkered down in their hotels.

As the storm continued to move northwestward in the direction of the state’s capital La Paz, about 1,000 residents there were temporarily housed at shelters.

Heavy rains were expected to continue in the region and parts of mainland Mexico through Friday and most of Saturday, with the storm forecast to head back out to the Pacific Ocean on Saturday night.

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