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Odile Leaves Wreckage In Mexico And Threatens Flooding In U.S.

Cars sit in a flooded street in San Jose del Cabo Monday, after Hurricane Odile knocked down trees and power lines in Mexico's Baja California peninsula.
Ronaldo Schemidt
AFP/Getty Images
Cars sit in a flooded street in San Jose del Cabo Monday, after Hurricane Odile knocked down trees and power lines in Mexico's Baja California peninsula.

Hurricane Odile is now a tropical storm, but it's still bringing heavy rainfall and power outages to the Baja Peninsula and surrounding areas. And a second storm could threaten the western coast of Mexico and the U.S. later this week.

Odile is still carrying sustained winds of more than 50 mph — and projecting tropical storm winds up to 150 miles from its center, according to the National Hurricane Center, which expects the storm to weaken into a tropical depression by early Wednesday.

No deaths are being reported as a result of Odile, which is being called "the strongest hurricane to strike the Baja Peninsula during the period of available data," tying 1967's Hurricane Olivia. Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto is headed to the peninsula today to survey the extensive damage.

From Mexico City, NPR's Jasmine Garsd reports:

"Hundreds of thousands are without power. About 30,000 tourists are stranded, staying at hotels designated as shelters.

"The Category 3 storm touched down near Cabo San Lucas late on Sunday, flooding the streets and damaging houses and hotels. The Mexican government says it is sending military and commercial airplanes to move the tourists out.

"The storm has eased, but authorities are warning of possible landslides and flooding as it moves towards northwestern Mexico. Later this week, a weakened Odile is expected to dump heavy rain on the Southwestern U.S."

On the heels of Odile, Tropical Storm Polo looms along Mexico's southwestern coast. It's predicted to track parallel to the coast before possibly hitting the southern Baja Peninsula this weekend. It's not yet known whether the storm will strengthen into a hurricane.

With 11 hurricanes so far and two months remaining in the Eastern Pacific's hurricane season, the region has already topped its average of around eight.

Forecasters say rain from Odile could bring new flooding to Tucson and parts of the Southwest this week, with AccuWeather saying, "The heaviest rainfall will hit the Southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico where a general 3 to 6 inches will fall, but local amounts of 10 inches are possible on the slopes of the mountains. Rainfall of 1 to 2 inches per hour can occur."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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