World

Mexico declares ‘orange alert’ as Tropical Storm Bud buffets Baja resort area

AFP-JIJI

Mexican authorities declared an “orange alert” Thursday for the popular resort region of Los Cabos as Tropical Storm Bud closed in on the coast, whipping it with wind and rain.

“We ask people to redouble their preventive measures,” said Gov. Carlos Mendoza of the state of Baja California Sur, declaring the second-highest alert level.

With its turquoise water and picturesque beaches, the Baja California peninsula in northwestern Mexico is a hot vacation spot for Americans and Canadians.

An estimated 21,000 tourists are currently in hotels in the resort towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, in the Los Cabos area at the tip of the peninsula, according to state tourism minister Luis Araiza.

He said the hotels had implemented safety protocols.

Ten flights were canceled at the Los Cabos international airport Thursday, and schools were closed in Los Cabos and state capital La Paz.

At 2100 GMT, Bud was traveling at 11 km (7 miles) per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 75 kph (45 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

It was expected to cross the Baja California peninsula overnight, then move over the Gulf of California on Friday, hitting mainland Mexico on Friday night or early Saturday before dissipating.

Bud was a category 4 hurricane on Tuesday, but has weakened as it has approached land.