MEXICO CITY – Hurricane Lorena was downgraded on Saturday to a tropical storm after causing power outages and damages to property along the east coast of the Baja California peninsula on its way to northwestern Mexico.
The National Meteorological Service (SMN) reported that the storm was located over the Gulf of California, 85 kilometers (nearly 53 miles) north-northeast of Loreto, Baja California Sur, and 145 km (90 miles) south of Guaymas, a city in the state of Sonora.
It was moving northward at 19 km/h with 85 km/h sustained winds and gusts of 100 km/h. A hurricane is marked a tropical storm when its sustained winds fall to a speed of 120 km/h or lower.
The weather office predicted heavy, strong and very strong rains in the Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua and in Durango.
It anticipated wind with gusts of over 70 km/h and three to five-meter (10-16 feet) high waves on the coasts of Baja California Sur, Sonora and Sinaloa.
People in the states have been urged to take extreme precautions and comply with the safety recommendations issued by the authorities.
According to the weather forecast, Lorena will land again in Sonora in the early hours of Sunday, and by noon it would have slowed down to a tropical depression.
As it moved along the eastern coast of Baja California Sur, Lorena caused damage in Los Planes, El Sargento, La Ventana and Los Barriles.
Dozens of trees and electric poles were uprooted, which disrupted power supply in major areas of the affected states.
Several houses in rural areas were also reported damaged.
During a supervisory visit to a shelter in La Paz, the Deputy Secretary of Civil Protection of Baja California Sur, Carlos Alfredo Godinez, told EFE that the authorities have ordered measures to support the affected population including temporary shelters.
Lorena touched down on Friday in the south of the Baja California peninsula. Hours later, the storm returned to the Gulf of California and moved close to the coast towards north-northwest.
Lorena was formed on Sept. 17 with an erratic trajectory.
It advanced as a tropical storm for two days along the coasts of western Mexico and made landfall on Thursday as a category 1 hurricane in Jalisco, causing heavy rains and flooding.
On Thursday, it downgraded to a tropical storm and regained hurricane strength on Friday.
With Lorena and tropical storm Mario – which is far from the Mexican territory – 13 of the total 19 storms predicted by the NMS for the current season in the Pacific have already occurred.