Hurricane John makes landfall on Mexico's Baja Peninsula

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Hurricane John came ashore near Cabo del Este on the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico at around 10 p.m. (8 p.m. local time) Sept. 1 as a Category 2 storm, with sustained winds clocking in near 110 mph.

Once a dangerous Category 4 storm off Mexico's West Coast, the downgraded storm dumped several inches of rain causing flooding in Acapulco and then sideswiped Puerto Vallarta on its way to a direct hit on the Baja Peninsula.

Residents and tourists in the resort towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo were hunkering down in hotels and shelters to wait out the storm. Various news outlets stated that the peninsula's airport had been closed in anticipation of the storm but officials could not be reached to confirm the report. The only other way out is the 1,056-mile, two-lane Transpeninsular Highway (Mexico Highway 1) that stretches the length of the peninsula from Cabo San Lucas to Tijuana on the U.S. border.

Meanwhile, traveling almost parallel to Hurricane John but farther out in the Pacific was Tropical Storm Kristy, with sustained winds around 50 mph. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted that the smaller storm could eventually be absorbed by John.

John and Kristy are numbers 10 and 11 in the 2006 Pacific hurricane season, which officially runs from May 15 to Nov. 30. Both became hurricanes, ranking them as the sixth and seventh hurricanes in the Pacific basin, although Kristy has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Ernesto Drenches East Coast

Back in the relatively quiet Atlantic basin, Tropical Storm Ernesto made landfall near the North/South Carolina border at around 11:30 p.m. Aug. 31 near Long Beach, N.C., (about 70 miles from Myrtle Beach, S.C., and 35 miles from Wilmington, N.C.). The storm had sustained winds near 70 mph, just under hurricane-force winds. (For more on this story, including a revised outlook for the 2006 season, seeStorm experts revise predictions to reduce 2006 forecast.) 

Of major concern all along the East Coast was the drenching rains left in Ernesto's wake. Official rain totals reported by the NHC included 9.71 inches in Cape Fear, N.C.; 6.20 inches in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; 6.64 inches at Witts Orchard, Va.; and 6.74 inches in Rock Island, Fla.

The remnants of the storm were expected to dump heavy amounts of rain from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region over the Labor Day weekend, including parts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

And Farther Abroad

In the western Pacific, Super Typhoon Ioke, now a Category 4 storm with winds of at least 150 mph, made a direct hit on Wake Island Aug. 31 as a Category 5 storm, with wind speeds topping more than 165 mph.

As of yet, there have been no reports from the U.S. territory, which is home to a U.S. Air Force base and a scientific outpost, as to any impact the storm may have had. However, prior to its arrival, forecasters had said they expected the extremely dangerous storm to destroy everything on the 2.5-square-mile island not made of concrete.

Wake Island is located about 2,300 miles west of Honolulu, midway between Hawaii and Japan, and is home to close to 200 mostly military personnel residents.

To contact TravelWeekly.com's managing editor Kimberly Scholz, send e-mail to [email protected].



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