Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico
# 16 September 2014 01:04 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Hurricane Odile whipped through the beach resorts of Mexico's Baja California peninsula on Monday, causing chaos as it uprooted trees, downed power lines and smashed shop windows, sparking looting, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Fierce winds buffeted homes, hotels and businesses as one of the worst storms ever to hit the luxury retreats of Los Cabos battered Mexico's northwest coast with heavy rains.

Odile has weakened from a category four to category one hurricane since Sunday, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said it would likely cause life-threatening flooding and mudslides on the northwestern coast in the next day or two.

Odile, which was blowing sustained winds of 90 mph (145 km/h), knocked out San Jose del Cabo's international airport, but flights might restart later Monday, authorities said.

"The whole place is devastated, San José del Cabo, windows are trashed, trees and electricity poles are down," said Mauricio Balderrama, manager of the Cabo Surf Hotel and Spa. All of the hotel's guests were unharmed, he added.

There were no initial reports of fatalities from Odile, which tore down water tanks, air conditioning units and smashed shop fronts across Cabo San Lucas, which sparked looting.

By 1800 GMT (1400 ET), Odile was about 65 miles (105 km) south of Loreto, on the east coast of the peninsula, and moving northwest at about 13 mph, the NHC said.

Pharmacies, electronics shops and convenience stores were among businesses hit by looters before police restored order on streets strewn with shattered glass from broken windows, said local shop worker Cristina Osuna, 31.

Tourists in shelters or hiding in bathtubs in their rooms posted photos overnight on social media showing windows barricaded with furniture after they were blown out.

Some people reported flooding at hotels when dawn broke.

"It was awful," said shop worker Osuna. "Nobody slept last night because water was coming in and we had to get it out."