Newton brings rain, cooler temps to Southwest

Firemen removed a palm tree felled by Hurricane Newton in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Newton slammed into the twin resorts of Los Cabos on the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula Tuesday morning, knocking out power in some places as stranded tourists huddled in their hotels. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

PHOENIX (AP) — Less intense remnants of Newton brought rain and cooler temperatures to Southwest Wednesday as the tropical storm crossed the border from Mexico into southern Arizona.

The National Weather Service in Tucson reported light to moderate rainfall throughout the day. The area has seen about 0.9 inches of rain, meteorologist Emily French said.

There were no reports of injuries and only one street under a freeway bridge was flooded.

Newton also brought a more tropical-like climate in the form of temperatures in the 70s and relative humidity between 75 and 90 percent. Compare that with the usually more muggy Miami, which had a humidity of 61 percent and a high of 98 degrees Wednesday.

The desert region is more prone to getting monsoon thunderstorms at this time of the year that stir up dust storms or rain.

“It’s not our typical monsoon patter at the moment, that’s what makes it more unusual,” French said. “But it’s not unheard of for southern Arizona to have gotten hit by tropical storms before.”

Newton was rapidly weakening as a tropical storm after slamming the resorts of Mexico’s southern Baja as a hurricane and making landfall on the country’s mainland.

The hurricane’s death toll rose to four Wednesday after two more bodies were found near the coast of the Baja California peninsula., according to the Los Cabos municipal civil defense council. One crew member of a shrimp boat that capsized Tuesday near Cabo Pulmo, north of Los Cabos on the Gulf of California, remains missing. Two bodies had been recovered earlier near the site where the boat capsized in heavy seas caused by the passage of Netwon.

The storm could still have potentially dangerous rains for Arizona and New Mexico even as Mexico changed its earlier hurricane warning to a tropical storm warning for the coast of the country’s mainland from Guaymas to Puerto Libertad.

The Mexican government also discontinued all tropical storm warnings for the Baja California Peninsula.

Newton first came ashore near the Los Cabos resorts Tuesday morning as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90 mph (150 kph), pelting the area with torrential rain as residents sheltered at home and tourists huddled in hotels. The storm broke windows, downed trees and knocked out power, but the area was spared the kind of extensive damage seen two years ago when it was walloped by a stronger storm.

A shrimp boat capsized in rough seas in the Gulf of California, killing two people and leaving three others missing, authorities said. The boat had set out from the port of Ensenada and was bound for Mazatlan.

After passing over the resort area, Newton headed northward up the peninsula’s sparsely populated interior and then over the gulf during the night. Early Wednesday, its center was about 55 miles (85 km) northwest of Hermosillo, Mexico, or and about 180 miles (285 km) south-southwest of Tucson, and was moving north at around 18 mph (30 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (90 kph).

After passing over relatively little populated areas in Sonora, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Newton could push into southeastern Arizona in the afternoon and drop 1 to 3 inches of rain there and over parts of New Mexico through Thursday.

“Heavy rain could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in mountainous terrain,” the center said.

About 14,000 tourists were in Los Cabos during the storm, tourism officials said, and visitors began venturing out after Newton passed.

“Just trying to make it through the day, with a little help,” Mark Hernandez, a visitor from California, said as he raised a can of beer at one of the few bars open in Cabo San Lucas. “We pray for the city of Cabo San Lucas. It was a rough one as you can see.”

Palm trees were toppled along the town’s coastal boulevard and some windows were broken. But there was calm in the city as firefighters cleaned refuse from the streets during the day.

In 2014, Los Cabos suffered heavy damage to homes, shops and hotels when it was hammered by Hurricane Odile, which hit as a Category 3 storm.

“You know, it could have been a lot worse and I think we are very fortunate that it wasn’t as bad as Odile,” said Darlene Savord, a tourist from California. “I think that we are very fortunate and blessed.”


Comments are closed.