Baja Braces for Pacific's Hurricane John

September 2, 2006
Hurricane John Threatens Mexican Riviera

(12:15 a.m.) -- The eye of Hurricane John made land contact 40 miles northeast of San Jose del Cabo last night, according to CNN. John has been downgraded to a Category Two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with maximum sustained winds near 110 miles per hour -- but a small increase in wind speed could bring it back to Category Three status.

The mayor of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo reports to CNN that although they "did not receive a direct hit," and flooding is only ankle-deep, they may still be affected by the storm.

Mexican officials prepared for the worst yesterday, ordering the evacuation of at least 15,000 residents from low-lying areas, according to CNN. A hurricane warning remains in effect from Baja Peninsula to Mulege, including the cruise ports of La Paz and Cabo San Lucas. Authorities prepared shelters for the possible evacuation of 30,000 people.

As visitors flee, flights to the U.S. are nearly sold out, according to CNN.

John has already caused heavy flooding in Manzanillo and Acapulco, two other stops for ships on Mexican Riviera itineraries, according to CNN; Acapulco experienced sea surges of up to 10 ft. on Wednesday and roads filled with ankle-deep water.

Ports in this region are rarely affected during hurricane season, because storms in the east Pacific hit land much less frequently than those in the Atlantic. John is the 10th named storm of the eastern Pacific season (remember, these storms are named separately from those in the Atlantic).

The Mexican Riviera cruise season is just starting to ramp up; luckily, only Carnival had to reroute a ship because of John (click here for related itinerary changes). There are no additional sailings to the Mexican Riviera or Baja until mid-September.

We'll keep you posted.