Hurricane Newton developed into a high-end Category 1, sweeping up over the tip of Baja including Los Cabos and La Paz, before careening up and across Baja’s midsection in early September 2016.
Apprehensive locals feared the worst as the storm approached that night. In the wee hours of the morning there were power outages and flooded streets were reported via social media outlets as the eye hovered over Cabo.
IN THE COMMUNITY of Santa Rosalía, the seat of government for the Municipality of Mulegé, dozens of houses and vehicles were buried in rocks and dirt as a result of the torrential rains that accompanied the hurricane.
“I have no internet or power at my house but power is back up in many places. My generator is doing its job except for AC — very little damage around town. We should be back up to almost normal in a couple of days. Many stores and taco-type restaurants are up and running. For the most part everyone is fine, so no worries; it could have been a lot worse.”…Mike Tumbiero
Mexico is considered to have one of the best hurricane-preparedness processes in the world, so they were ready for Newton. Luckily, the hurricane remained a Category 1, the lowest, on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
Palm trees were toppled along Cabo San Lucas' coastal boulevard and some windows were broken. Army Colonel Enrique Rangel said "There is only minor damage — fallen branches, some fallen banners, some cables... But there was calm in the city as firefighter’s cleaned refuse from the streets during the day.”
Later that week, Pat McDonell, WON Editorial Director, confirmed. “Hurricane Newton was a direct hit last Tuesday but with little lasting damage . . . just water and mud; the Cabo port was closed through Thursday even though it was flat calm with flat seas...”
Jonathan Roldan, my WON column partner in La Paz, also took to social media to reassure everyone that they made it through the hurricane fine, thanking everyone who had asked! He even went so far as to post a video admonishing everyone to, “turn up the sound to get the full effect of the hurricane!”
Conapesca, the National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission, confirmed that five people aboard the shrimp boat Mariano Pérez X died. The vessel was traveling from Ensenada to Mazatlán when it was caught in the hurricane.
However, as the hurricane travelled over land during the day, up the east coast of Baja to Punta Chivato, videos of waves crashing over the sea wall on the Malecón in Loreto, posted mid-day confirmed Newton wasn’t done yet. Mulege, Punta Chivato and Santa Rosalia were in its path before it barreled across the Gulf of California in the dark. The town of Hermosillo, 60-miles inland from Bahia de Kino, reported wind gusts of 80-mph as Newton went past. The former hurricane continued across the Sonoran desert up into southern Arizona on Wednesday night.
Initial reports said damage from Newton was light, but that was before heavy rainfall took its toll.
Mexico 1 is washed out in three places between San Ignacio and Mulegé. Expect delays and detours.
In the community of Santa Rosalía, the seat of government for the Municipality of Mulegé, dozens of houses and vehicles were buried in rocks and dirt as a result of the torrential rains that accompanied the hurricane.
Judging from reports and photos of damage to Mex 1, from Santa Rosalía south the road is passable all the way down the peninsula, but there are a few areas where delays and detours should be expected.
Highway 1 from Santa Rosalia to Mulegé is in rough condition with many parts of the road washed out. It’s passable but be patient and expect delays and detours.
Santa Rosalía, Mulegé, and Punta Chivato experienced heavy flooding and roads washing out, causing difficult access. However, roads in and out of Lopez Mateos and Puerto San Carlos are open and passable.
Scorpion Bay: The north road remains impassable. There is access on the south road for four-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance. Drive with caution as there are many washouts and rough spots.
There is construction between Ciudad Insurgentes and La Paz with a six-mile bypass that is now washed out around Km. 60. Expect delays and detours.
Jennifer Kramer, Discover Baja Travel Club, recently warned, “Drive with caution and during daylight hours; it takes longer for damaged roads to be repaired in Baja than people are used to in the U.S. Unfortunately the areas in the middle of the peninsula often suffer the most after a disaster because they are farther away from the larger cities and resources.”
The fall season is always a popular time for many to travel down Mex 1on the Baja Peninsula. In years past, information about the effects of the weather on road conditions was tough to come by. Social media has been a welcome addition, allowing Baja travelers to be better prepared for their own Baja adventures by paying attention to the sometimes slightly different or varied accounts of recent events that might affect their travel plans.