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Hurricane Newton slams into Mexico's Los Cabos resorts, 1 dead

Hurricane Newton shattered windows, downed trees and knocked out power in parts of the twin resorts of Los Cabos on Tuesday, but residents were spared the kind of extensive damage seen two years ago when they were walloped by a stronger storm.

A boat capsized in rough seas in the Gulf of California, killing one person, authorities said. It was the only reported casualty.

Newton made landfall at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula in the morning as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90 mph, pelting the area with torrential rain as residents hunkered down in their homes and tourists huddled in hotels.

Palm trees were toppled along Cabo San Lucas' coastal boulevard and some windows were broken. But there was calm in the city as firefighters cleaned refuse from the streets during the day.

"There are only minor damages — fallen branches, some fallen banners, some cables. ... In general, no victims," army Col. Enrique Rangel said.

After passing over the resort area, Newton moved northward up the interior of the peninsula and was expected to move over the gulf, which is also known as the Sea of Cortez. Early Tuesday night, its center was about 45 miles south-southeast of Mulege on the gulf coast, and it was moving north-northwest at around 18 mph with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm would make landfall in Sonora state still a hurricane. Newton could reach the U.S. border as a tropical storm at midday Wednesday, and drop 1 to 3 inches of rain over parts of Arizona and New Mexico through Thursday, threatening flash floods and landslides, forecasters said.

About 14,000 tourists had remained in Los Cabos as the storm approached, tourism officials said, and visitors began venturing out some after Newton passed.

"Just trying to make it through the day, with a little help," Mark Hernandez, a tourist 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."

Roberto Dominguez, a customer relations worker at the Fairfield Marriot, said the hotel's windows and balconies had been sufficiently protected from the storm and guests were fine, although cellphone and internet services had been knocked out.

In 2014, Los Cabos suffered heavy damage to homes, shops and hotels when it was hammered by Hurricane Odile, which hit land 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, another tourist from California. "I think that we are very fortunate and blessed."

Officials evacuated low-lying areas and opened 18 shelters at schools in Los Cabos and 38 more in other parts of the state, while warning people against panic buying. Los Cabos police were stationed at shopping malls to guard against the kind of looting that occurred after Hurricane Odile.

Associated Press

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