Hurricane drenches Mexico, prompting evacuations

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LOS CABOS, Mexico (AP) -- Rains and high surf brought by Hurricane Norbert damaged more than 1,000 homes and forced hundreds of people to seek higher ground as the storm roared northward off the coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.

Norbert weakened Saturday night to a Category 1 storm with winds of up to 85 mph (140 kph). Though staying away from land, it was near enough to the coast to drench fishing villages and resorts, and pound beaches.

High surf and waves broke a contention wall and flooded the fishing village of Puerto de San Carlos, said Venustiano Perez, mayor of the municipality of Comondu, which encompasses the village and is located about 300 miles (500 kilometers) north of the tip of the peninsula.

Perez said that 1,250 houses were damaged and that some of the 2,500 people affected were evacuated to a shelter.

Baja California Sur state Gov. Marcos Covarrubias urged people in vulnerable areas to evacuate and said travelers should stay off highways as the storm passed by. He said most government services would be closed or restricted, and schools in Los Cabos and La Paz were closed on Friday.

By Saturday morning, at least 2,000 people had been evacuated from Los Cabos, La Paz and Comondu, said the state government's civil protection director Carlos Rincon.

At least 1,000 people were in shelters Friday evening in Los Cabos, where the storm toppled trees and knocked out electricity in parts of the resort area. Firefighters rescued several people from vehicles stranded in flooded streets, said Wenceslao Pettit, Public Safety director in Cabo San Lucas.

Ports in the area popular with U.S. tourists remained closed to navigation and police officers were sent to the evacuated neighborhoods to prevent looting, Pettit added.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said late Saturday afternoon that Norbert was centered about 205 miles (330 kilometers) west of sparsely populated Cabo San Lazaro and was heading west-northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).

The Hurricane Center said Norbert was moving away from the coast and weather conditions for Baja California should improve. It said Norbert should become a tropical storm on Sunday.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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LOS CABOS, Mexico (AP) -- Hurricane Norbert dumped heavy rains and prompted evacuations as it marched up the coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula on Friday. Forecasters said the storm may help bring weekend precipitation to the parched U.S. Southwest.

Baja California Sur state Gov. Marcos Covarrubias urged people in vulnerable areas to evacuate and said travelers should stay off highways as the storm roars past. He said most government services would be closed or restricted, and schools in Los Cabos and La Paz were closed on Friday.

At least 1,000 people remained in shelters Friday afternoon in Los Cabos, where the storm toppled over trees and knocked out electricity in some parts of the resort area. Firefighters rescued several people from vehicles stranded in flooded streets, said Wenceslao Pettit, Public Safety director in Cabo San Lucas.

Ports in the area popular with U.S. tourists remained closed to navigation and police officers were sent to the evacuated neighborhoods to prevent looting, Pettit added.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Friday evening that Norbert had strengthen a bit with maximum sustained winds near 100 mph (155 kph) and it was centered about 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of sparsely populated Cabo San Lazaro.

Forecasters said Norbert, which had reached hurricane strength Wednesday, was headed northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).

The Hurricane Center said Norbert was helping push moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Dolly across northern Mexico and into the southwestern United States, bringing possible heavy rains in coming days.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.