Tropical storm Polo threatens battered Mexican resort of Los Cabos

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 19, 2014 7:20 PM

SAN JOSE DEL CABO (Reuters) - Tropical storm Polo barreled nearer on Friday to the Mexican Pacific resort of Los Cabos where thousands of troops were restoring order following widespread chaos caused by Hurricane Odile at the start of the week.

Odile plowed into the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula on Sunday as a category 3 hurricane, causing major damage to beach resorts and sparking widespread looting.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said a tropical storm warning was in effect from Santa Fe to La Paz on the normally arid peninsula, adding that Polo could dump rains from Jalisco state to the southern port of Baja California.

At around 1700 EDT, Polo was moving northwest at 6 miles per hour (10 km per hour) and is expected to veer further westward over the next 48 hours, when the storm should weaken, the NHC said.

"However, any deviation to the north of the track could bring stronger winds to the southern Baja California peninsula," the Miami-based NHC said, referring to Polo, which was blowing maximum winds of 70 mph (113 kph).

Odile caused the worst ever damage to Mexico's electricity infrastructure, state power company CFE said on Friday. About 98 percent of the state of Baja California Sur's population suffered some power outage because of the hurricane, it said.

So far power had been restored to just over a third of the state, the CFE said in a statement.

As of Thursday, some 18,000 tourists had been airlifted out of the area. But thousands remained, and emergency bottled water had to be handed out in the popular U.S. tourist retreat.

By then, the Mexican government had sent in 8,000 troops and federal police to reinforce security after looters made off with everything from beer to bicycles and plasma TVs from supermarkets in San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.

Both the Mexican and U.S. governments are working to get stranded tourists out on special flights.

(Reporting by German Medrano; Writing by Dave Graham and Gabriel Stargardter. Editing by Andre Grenon)