Record-breaking Hurricane Odile made landfall last night, at the southern tip of Baja California, a popular tourist area in Mexico. Heavy rainfall of six inches or more within the first hour, along with sustained winds of 115 mph, and gusts up to 125 mph caused property damage, injuries, flooding, power outages, and damage to water lines. Continuing heavy rains could cause additional flooding and mudslides.
“This storm is putting the tourist infrastructure of Cabo San Lucas and the Los Cabos region through the harshest conditions it’s ever experienced,” says Meteorologist Nick Wiltgen of Weather.com. Communications outages are slowing reports from the area but, “Damage is likely massive,” says Dan Leonard of WSI (a division of The Weather Channel). “The RMS Capital Markets team is assessing the impact of Hurricane Odile on all outstanding cat bonds, with particular attention to Multicat Mexico 2012 – Class C,” according to their website .
Odile’s strength as it hit the peninsula was tied as the most severe on record. Hurricane Olivia equaled it when it struck just north of La Paz in 1967. More broadly, Odile was the 11th strongest East Pacific hurricane in recorded history, with a central pressure of 922mb recorded shortly before landfall. What began as a Category 4 hurricane at sea, softened to a Category 3 storm on land, and has further weakened to a Category 2.
The storm may combine with another storm from the east to bring a moisture surge to the Southwestern United States, which could cause heavy rains and flash flooding within the next few of days. According to Leonard, his group is predicting more than 5 inches of rain over parts of southern AZ and 10 or more inches over NW Mexico.