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Weakened Tropical Storm Blanca hits Baja California

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A man takes a selfie at El Medano Beach before the arrival of Hurricane Blanca, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Sunday June 7, 2015. The unpredictable storm strengthened rapidly to a Category 4 storm on Saturday, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center says it has since weakened to Category 1 with top winds near 90 mph. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
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CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico >> A weakening Tropical Storm Blanca rolled into the Baja California Peninsula on Monday, with rains expected to lash a wide area including the resorts of Los Cabos.

Only recently a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph, Blanca was a tropical storm with winds of 45 mph Monday and it was expected to soon fade to a tropical depression.

With memories still fresh from Hurricane Odile, which battered ramshackle homes, stores and luxury hotels when it made a direct hit on Los Cabos as a Category 3 storm in September, authorities put thousands of troops on alert and issued maritime warnings.

Locals nailed down roofs and dragged food stands in from the beach in Cabo San Lucas, even as some tourists strolled the sand taking pictures of the cloudy skies and rising surf. Gusty winds whipped the tops of palm trees.

Mexico’s National Water Commission warned of strong winds, lightning, up to 20-foot surf and "extraordinary rainfall," with possible localized accumulations of 10 inches or more in Baja California Sur state, which is home to Los Cabos.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Blanca is the earliest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall on the peninsula. It hit near Puerto Cortes and as dawn neared, it was located about 40 miles  east-southeast of Cabo San Lazaro. It was moving to the north-northwest at 15 mph.

The storm is also expected to bring humid conditions and some rain to drought-stricken Southern California.

The National Weather Service said a low pressure system approaching the region from the eastern Pacific will begin pulling in the moisture from now-Tropical Storm Blanca on Tuesday.

Forecasters say humidity will increase along with a chance of showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms.

Heavy rainfall is possible in localized areas, mainly near the mountains.

Rainfall estimates range from a tenth of an inch to a half-inch.

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