LOS CABOS, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Norbert slumped to tropical storm force off of Mexico's Baja California peninsula on Sunday after pounding fishing villages and damaging more than 1,000 homes while kicking up dangerous surf farther north along the California coast.
Norbert peaked as a Category 3 hurricane early Saturday with sustained winds of 120 mph (210 kph), but by Sunday night it was a rapidly weakening tropical storm with winds of 45 mph (75 kph).
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm was likely to fade as it bends toward the coast of the peninsula by midweek, bringing more heavy rains to the Baja desert and to the U.S. Southwest.
Though it has stayed away from land, Norbert passed near enough to the coast in recent days to drench fishing villages and resorts, and pound beaches.
High surf and waves broke a contention wall and flooded the fishing village of Puerto 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.
The state government reported that 500 people there had gone to shelters and health officials were taking steps to fight mosquitoes in stagnant water to prevent the spread of dengue
At least 2,000 people were evacuated from Los Cabos, La Paz and Comondu, said the state government's civil protection director Carlos Rincon.
In Southern California, thunderstorms pushed by Norbert flooded streets and freeway lanes that left dozens of cars stuck in the knee-deep water.
The National Weather Service said the storm dropped as much as nearly 3 inches of rain in Hemet and 2 inches of rain in the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County.
The California Highway Patrol reported flooding along almost all inland freeways, stranding dozens of cars and forcing lane closures.
Isolated thunderstorms were expected to continue into Sunday evening and Monday, said Cynthia Palmer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego.
She said Norbert was helping push moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Dolly across northern Mexico and into the southwestern United States.
The Miami-based Hurricane Center in Miami said that Norbert was centered about 180 miles (285 kilometers) southwest of Punta Eugenia, Mexico and was heading northwest at 7 mph (11 kph).