CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico – A strengthening Hurricane Jimena roared toward Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, where residents stocked up on food Sunday and authorities set up shelters, anticipating landfall in the coming days.
Mexico issued a hurricane watch for the resort-dotted southern portion of Baja, meaning hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours.
Jimena, a dangerous Category 4 storm, could slam into the peninsula by Wednesday morning, said Richard Pasch, a senior specialist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
At least 10,000 families will be evacuated from potential flood zones, said Francisco Cota, the local director of Civil Protection. He said 60 shelters would be set up.
Farther south, Jimena kicked up surf along the mainland western coast and generated strong winds that bent trees in the resort town of Zihuatanejo, uprooting at least one. Strong waves and wind prevented a couple on a boat from reaching port, forcing them to spend the night at sea, said Zihuatanejo coast guard official Jose Angel Lara.
Pasch said Jimena’s path “is subject to some uncertainty” and that it is difficult to predict exactly how strong the storm will be when it nears Baja.
“I think it’s going to be a substantial hurricane by the time it approaches,” he said.
On Sunday night, Jimena had maximum sustained winds near 145 mph and was moving west-northwest at 7 mph.
It was centered about 445 miles southeast of Cabo San Lucas and 255 miles south of Cabo Corrientes, a coastal town in the western state of Jalisco.