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Mexicans assess storm's damage



Published: Sat, September 2, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The hurricane weakened to a tropical storm Saturday.

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) -- As tourists ventured out to the few open bars, local workers in this Pacific coast resort surveyed the damage from the storm to their tin-roofed homes in shantytowns nearby.

"They had an open bar and a little DJ come in," said Tim Anderson, a highway administration employee from Alamosa, Colorado who waited out Hurricane John in a hotel Saturday in the resort of San Jose del Cabo on Mexico's Baja California peninsula.

Ruben Moreno, 32, a bricklayer, saw the hurricane from quite a different perspective huddled in his shack made of tar paper, tin and plastic tarps in one of Cabo San Lucas' shantytowns.

"The wind came through hard, early in the morning," said Moreno, who defied evacuation orders and waited out the hurricane at his home.

Nearby, a stream of water had coursed through the camp, piling mud and sand in its wake. At least two of the jury-rigged, wood frame shacks inhabited by his neighbors had collapsed, leaving a mix of plastic sheeting, tar paper and blankets in the sand.

John weakened to a tropical storm Saturday just hours after it hit land as a hurricane in southern Baja, ripping the roofs from shacks, knocking out power and sending billboards flying.

Tourists in the resort of Cabo San Lucas scrambled to catch flights out after the airport reopened.

John was a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds when it struck land near isolated hamlets northeast of Los Cabos on Friday night, but it had slipped to Category 1 status with winds near 85 mph by Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon it weakened to a tropical storm and the winds dropped to 65 mph by evening.

The storm was located about 50 miles south of Loreto, a rapidly growing center of retirement and vacation homes for U.S. citizens. It was moving northwest at 8 mph and was expected to remain over the peninsula for a day and was forecast to dump up to 18 inches of rain in parts before hitting cooler waters in the Pacific, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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