Tropical Storm Lidia, which came ashore late Thursday at Cabo San Lucas on Baja California's tip, continued to deliver powerful winds and torrential rain throughout the Mexican state of Baja California Sur on Friday.
"We're getting belted by the storm," Tracy Ehrenberg, a longtime Cabo San Lucas resident, told GrindTV at dusk Thursday, as wind speeds hit 65 mph – 9 mph shy of hurricane strength. "It's practically a hurricane. We're holding on here and praying the docks will stay together."
At the same time, streets began to swell with rainwater throughout the Los Cabos tourism zone, which also includes San Jose del Cabo. Arroyos that had been dry for months became dangerous torrents from Los Cabos to La Paz, the state's capital 90 miles to the north, on the Sea of Cortez.
"This is a very bad storm; there will be huge devastation," predicted Gary Barnes-Webb, general manager at Rancho Leonero Resort, between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. "We're 24 hours into it with 24 hours to go. All arroyos [are] in full flood already."
It was too early at the time of this post for damage estimates, as Lidia was still churning across the region. But the Los Cabos, La Paz, and Loreto airports were closed Friday, and there were widespread power outages.
Reached at 10 a.m. Friday, Ehrenberg, who manages Pisces Sportfishing and other Cabo San Lucas business, said skies were beginning to clear at Land’s End while the storm still raged to the north. “You know, I like to downplay damage, but to be truthful there has been quite a lot,” Ehrenberg said, adding that she heard about “a few deaths due to people being swept away in running rivers.”
An official casualty report had not been released by the state government. Typically, poor people camped in arroyos fall victim to severe flooding.
Ehrenberg said the main road along the tourism corridor to Cabo San Lucas was impassable. Photos shared via social media revealed extensive street flooding and damaged vehicles.
Reuters reported that as many as 1,400 people sought refuge at shelters established at Los Cabos resorts.
Early Friday in La Paz, about 90 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, Tailhunter International Sportfishing posted the following update (video embedded above):
"It’s 7:35 a.m. in La Paz and Lidia finally hitting full force. Storm surge really pushing up the water. Turn up the sound and it’s like a train! We’ve got towels under the door. Everyone is fine and safe, however. This is not the first, the last or the largest! Part of being here and fortunately, does not happen often. Nature is pretty awesome as long as everyone is safe. It’s getting stronger but this should all be over by tonight."
According to the Florida-based National Hurricane Center, tropical storm warnings remained in effect throughout much of the state, and on mainland Mexico from Altata to Puerto Libertad.
Lidia is expected to be positioned well north of the main tourism zones late Friday as the storm spins to the northwest. It will re-enter the Pacific and weaken to a tropical depression by Saturday evening.
More about Baja California storms from GrindTV