Update Wednesday 8th October 1 a.m.
Hurricane Simon quickly degenerated into a tropical depression on Tuesday and now it has become a remnant low. Periods of heavy, but brief, downpours occurred starting around 8 a.m on Tuesday and continued all day. You can see the midnight Doppler Radar picture of another cell of intense rain headed east below. San Felipe is on the lower edge of this one.
Total amounts of precipitation have been modest -around a half to one inch in town, more to the south. Reports say Gonzaga got a couple of inches. Mexicali also had some strong downpours and the Mexicali-San Felipe road was inundated in places by the deluge. However, no significant damage was noticeable when I drove the route. The high quality construction paid off.
The roads in town are another matter completely. The baked and patched asphalt veneer on the packed dirt base started to disintegrate at the first cloudburst and it feels as though an army of tanks has driven up and down the main streets. Ridges and potholes are forming as the surface crumbles. Take it slowly on the airport road to points south, there are places where the pavement edges are just disappearing into the sandy shoulders.
Update Sunday 5th October 2 p.m.
Hurricane Simon is now moving over cooler water and should rapidly lose strength. However, it is likely that it will make landfall as a tropical depression in northern Baja on Tuesday and bring thunderstorms and locally heavy rains to the entire region. Landfall is presently predicted to be between Guerrero Negro and El Rosario on the Pacific coast. If any circulation center remains after interacting with the mountainous backbone of the peninsular, it will likely pass between San Felipe and Bahia de los Angeles into the Sea of Cortez on Wednesday.
The meteorological forecast estimates that there will be 2-4 inches (locally 8 inches) of rain in central Baja and that 1-3 inches of rain could fall in northern Baja between Monday night and Wednesday afternoon if the present course and speed of movement is maintained.
Note that this will also be a period of extremely high astronomical tides for the northern Gulf and the remnant easterly winds from the depression may deliver enough storm surge to cause significant beach erosion.
It is very likely that there will be modifications to this forecast as the cyclone is guided by changing winds over the next 24-36 hours. Stay tuned!
Update Saturday 4th October 11 a.m.
Simon has intensified rapidly and is now classed as a major hurricane with winds exceeding 115 mph. The Mexican Meteorological Service (SNM) is forecasting heavy rain and strong winds for southern Baja and light rain for Northern Baja. Rain is now starting in San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas and is forecast to continue through Tuesday night.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami reports:
…NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT REPORTS THAT SIMON HAS BECOME A
DATA FROM A NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT SIMON HAS
BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE. THE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 115
MPH…185 KM/H…AND THE CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY THE AIRCRAFT
IS 952 MB…28.11 INCHES. THIS MAKES SIMON THE EIGHTH MAJOR
HURRICANE OF THE 2014 EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC HURRICANE SEASON.
SUMMARY OF 1100 AM PDT…1800 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 255 MI…410 KM WNW OF SOCORRO ISLAND
ABOUT 350 MI…565 KM WSW OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…115 MPH…185 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 295 DEGREES AT 13 MPH…20 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…952 MB…28.11 INCHES
A warm and pleasant weekend is on tap for San Felipe. Expect beach air and water temperatures in the high 80’s for the next few days. However, we need to keep watch on Tropical Storm Simon which is slowly gaining strength and could become a hurricane in the next 24 hours. There is a good chance that Simon will start affecting central Baja by the middle of next week.
I have been flooded with emails asking for more information on the start of airline service between San Felipe and San Diego. We still await official word that Seaport Airlines has the necessary permits to operate from the Mexican Government, though all US permits are apparently in place.
One thing that must be borne in mind is that Mexico is a “serial country”. All directives originate in Mexico City, and all important decisions reside with the President. At the moment, the single highest priority in Mexico is to get the tourist resorts of southern Baja back in operation after the billion dollars of damage caused by Hurricane Odile just over 2 weeks ago.
President Enrique Peña Nieto has caused his Secretary of Tourism to set up office in Los Cabos and get things done. The armed services are out in force assisting with the cleanup operations, Navy vessels are bringing in thousands of tons of supplies.
The Los Cabos airport is going back into operation today, five days ahead of schedule. Some 3000 workers of the CFE have worked day and night to restore essentially all of the broken circuits and downed electricity poles, and power is available again.
Telmex has all phone and internet lines operational in all resort areas. Hundreds of water desalination plants that service hotels are being repaired. Virtually all roads are now passable for all vehicles. The speed with which things are being done is, to my mind, unprecedented in Mexico. All Eyes are focused on Southern Baja.
Many hotels and resorts have been damaged and those repairs will, unfortunately, take longer.
Bahia de los Angeles continues to struggle with digging out from the flood.
Meanwhile, back in San Felipe…..
A number of correspondents have raised the question of transportation and car rentals when our air service starts. We don’t have a car rental agency in San Felipe and we don’t have a bus service either. Of course, you can certainly take a taxi from the airport out to your house in El Dorado or La Hacienda, but how do you get around? How do you get to the Cantina or the Sunrunner Deli, or go shopping? If you live in Los Viajeros, are you going to walk to the beach?
Many residents have an old vehicle that they keep here, usually a dune buggy or an old VW. What would be ideal is for some local group to organize a “rent-your-old-idle-car” business for plane passengers. Something legitimate that can take care of the vehicle and also give the owner a modest income.
I remember the thrill of my first flight into Cabo San Lucas many years ago when I was able to rent an old VW Thing and tool around town. The car, with a few dents and a cracked windshield, was entirely appropriate for the location and it made the vacation doubly enjoyable. A similar local business here would certainly be able to set the tone for the laid back “San Felipe Experience”. Send me an email if you would consider renting your vehicle so that I can see if there is any interest. infosanfelipe at gmail dot com