MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Kay made landfall Thursday afternoon on a sparsely populated peninsula on Mexico’s Pacific coast, and forecasters said it might bring rains to southernmost California by the weekend.
The storm’s maximum sustained winds weakened to near 75 mph (120 kmh), barely a Category 1 storm, and Kay was expected to continue weakening into a tropical storm in the coming hours.
The eye of the storm came ashore near Bahia Asuncion in Baja California Sur state. Kay was forecast to move back out over cooler water, weakening it.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said there was a chance the outer bands of the big storm could bring heavy rain — and possibly flash floods — to parts of scorched Southern California and southwestern Arizona on Friday night and Saturday.
The center said Kay was centered about 70 miles (110 kilometers) southeast of Punta Eugenia at midafternoon Thursday. Kay was moving north-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).
Ivory Small, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego, said the storm was expected to affect the San Diego County area with somewhat less strength than a tropical storm. While the eye would remain well offshore, he said winds would be comparable to a moderate Santa Ana and could be strong enough to down tree branches.
Around an inch of rain was forecast for the coast and upwards of four inches in the mountains, “which is a lot of rain for September,” he said. The storm could also begin lowering temperatures around San Diego, which has been under an excessive heat warning.
The last time a hurricane or tropical storm came close to San Diego was Nora in 1997, which entered the U.S. as a tropical storm near Yuma, Ariz., and also brought about an inch of rain to the San Diego area, Small said.
The state government of Baja California Sur said more than 1,600 people had evacuated to shelters. It said some creeks were rising and closed some roads.
Landslides reportedly cut some roadways on the peninsula, but there were no reports of injuries.
The mayor of the town of Mulege on the Gulf of California said Thursday morning that her town had been without water since Wednesday and requested that the state send tankers.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Earl churned through open waters in the Atlantic Ocean and was forecast to pass just southeast of Bermuda on Thursday night as a major Category 3 storm.
The island’s national security minister, Michael Weeks, told reporters that public services and government offices would keep operating but warned residents to brace for tropical storm conditions.
“Bermuda will certainly feel the effects from Earl, so we must guard against complacency,” he said.
Weeks also warned of flooding in low-lying areas and noted that officials opened a government shelter.
“I don’t have to remind you that storms by their very nature are unpredictable, so it’s critical to ensure that we are ready and prepared,” he said.
Earl was centered about 140 miles (225 kilometers) south of Bermuda late Thursday afternoon. It had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (155 kph) and it was moving north-northeast at 16 mph (20 kph).
Farther east, Danielle evolved into a post-tropical storm far out over open waters in the Atlantic some 715 miles (1,145 kilometers) north-northwest of the Azores. It had maximum sut6ained winds of 65 mph (100 kph).