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Lorena spares Los Cabos, heads up coast of Mexico’s Baja

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico — Hurricane Lorena spared the resort-studded twin cities of Los Cabos a direct hit, instead heading up the east coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula on Saturday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Lorena was a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph), and its center was about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east-northeast of Loreto, Mexico. It was heading to the north at 12 mph (19 kph) on a forecast track parallel to the coast, through the Sea of Cortez.

It was expected to approach the northwestern coast of mainland Mexico late Saturday and early Sunday. A hurricane watch was in effect for mainland Mexico from Huatabampito to Puerto Libertad, the hurricane center said.

The storm brought intense rain and strong waves to Los Cabos, but minimal damage. Clouds began to clear Friday evening. Electric service was spotty in some communities.

For days, forecasts had predicted likely landfall in or a near miss with Los Cabos, but the storm took a path well east of the glitzy resort area.

On Friday, residents and tourists in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo hunkered down in homes, shelters and hotels amid extreme weather warnings.

Police and soldiers went through low-lying, low-income neighborhoods in Los Cabos urging people to evacuate. Locals who have been through past hurricanes took no chances, pulling boats from the water and boarding up windows and doors.

Authorities in Los Cabos said 787 people had taken refuge at 18 storm shelters. Officials had closed the port and suspended school classes for Friday.

Lorena came onshore a day earlier as a hurricane in the western Mexican state of Colima. It flooded streets, washed out roads and touched off minor slides in 10 municipalities. Dozens of trees were downed, and power was knocked out in some areas.

Colima state Gov. José Ignacio Peralta said more than 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) of crops such as bananas and papayas were damaged statewide, but there were no deaths or significant damage to infrastructure.

The hurricane center described Lorena on Saturday as a “small” cyclone with hurricane-force winds that extend outward up to 10 miles (20 kilometers). Nonetheless, Baja California Sur Gov. Carlos Mendoza urged residents to exercise caution.

A second cyclone, Tropical Storm Mario, was several hundred miles (kilometers) south of the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula and was expected to disperse by Monday.

In the Atlantic, meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jerry was forecast to pass “well north” of Puerto Rico and “well east” of the Bahamas on Sunday, but heavy rainfall remained possible on the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, the hurricane center reported.

Jerry’s maximum sustained winds stood at 65 mph (100 kph) early Saturday. It was centered about 260 miles (415 kilometers) north-northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico and was moving to the northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).

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