Storm season heating up; Mexico resorts sidestep major damage

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Even as Tropical Storm Ernesto finally lost wind, rain and status somewhere in Canada after battering the East coast over Labor Day weekend, Tropical Storm Florence gathered steam in the open Atlantic about 960 miles east of the Caribbean's Leeward Islands.

Although Florence, the sixth named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season -- which suddenly seems to show some life -- is days away from landfall somewhere, her winds are near 45 mph and picking up, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Meanwhile, down Mexico way, the airports in Los Cabos and La Paz did not sustain any major damage following Hurricane John, a Category 2 storm which struck a sparsely populated desert on the southern coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula on Sept. 1.

Both airports reopened over the weekend after canceling 151 flights due to strong winds in the area.

The Los Cabos Tourism Board said that Los Cabos "suffered nothing more than some rain and wind," according to Alberto Trevino, secretary of tourism for Baja California.

The resorts never lost power, and guests were accommodated in ballrooms until the storm dissipated.

The Acapulco Convention & Visitors Bureau, where John drenched on its way by Aug. 28, said the destination sidestepped John in stride.

"Acapulco luckily suffered nothing more than a good rain," said Mary Beth Medina Cortes, president of the Acapulco Hotel and Tourism Association.

Elsewhere in the Pacific, Kristy regenerated and is a tropical storm yet again, although the storm remains no threat to land.

And further out, Tropical Storm Ioke, once a very formidable Category 5 storm, is just under Category 1 status, with winds around 70 mph and located about 400 miles from Japan. But, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the storm is gaining extratropical characteristics and losing all hurricane status.

Ioke formed west of Hawaii Aug. 19 and swept over Wake Island Aug. 31. Prior to the storm's arrival on Wake, the 2.5-square-mile island evacuated all 188 residents -- mostly military and contractors. The storm was expected to destroy almost everything in its path. However, initial damage reports for the island by U.S. Coast Guard flybys "less destruction than expected," according to a release on the U.S. Air Force Web site.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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