Hurricane Greg dumped torrential rains on Mexico's Pacific Coast today, leaving nine people dead before moving across the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula and deteriorating into a tropical storm.
The storm passed directly over the popular resort town of Cabo San Lucas at the peninsula's tip with winds of about 60 miles an hour, then moved slowly north and out to sea. Although Greg maintained hurricane status for barely a day, it pushed massive waves into Mexico's western coastlines and brought heavy rain to that part of the country.
Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes, and thousands more were left stranded by floodwaters, debris-clogged roads and downed electrical lines, according to local radio and television accounts.
Greg was just one of two storms battering Mexico today.
As it approached the Pacific coast, the northeastern Gulf of Mexico coast was hit by a tropical depression that forecasters said could dump up to 10 inches of rain before meandering into southern Texas, where warnings have been issued for flash floods and mudslides.
Although the southernmost point of Baja California bore the brunt of the storm, the nine fatalities occurred Monday night and today in the mainland states of Chiapas, Colima and Morelos--all caused by flooding, according to Mexican news reports.
Thousands of residents were evacuated from the state of Michoacan, north to the border state of Sonora, as waves pounded the coasts and floodwaters inundated roadways and towns.
The streets of San Patricio Melaqu, a village in the coastal state of Jalisco, were under five feet of water after three days of continuous rain, Mexican news reports said.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami had predicted that Greg would drop up to 15 inches of rain in western Mexico before moving out to sea.
Ten major ports on both coasts were closed because of rough seas and high winds.
Resort cities, including Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta on the lower Pacific coast and Cabo San Lucas and La Paz on the Baja California Peninsula, also braced for high winds and floodwaters.
Although authorities evacuated about 1,000 residents in the Cabo San Lucas area Monday night, most returned to their homes despite warnings from local officials.
Built on the peninsula's stark red desert, Cabo San Lucas has become one of Mexico's primary beach and sport fishing destinations for American and other foreign tourists.