A commentary on San Felipe

Seaport Airlines to start service between San Felipe and San Diego on 15th December

Seaport Airlines has announced that it now has the permits to start flights on its 9 passenger Cessna planes starting Monday 15th December.

Flights will be once-a-day on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing 9:15 a.m. from Lindbergh Field (SAN) and arriving in San Felipe at 10:35 a.m. The return flights leave San Felipe(SFH) at 11:30 a.m. on the same days. There will be connecting service to Hollywood/Burbank.

Estimated round-trip price is $249 although there may be special promotions.

You can book flights now at

Simon – the remnant low drops locally heavy rain

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. 

doppler radar 100814 1230am

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.

Hurricane SIMON


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:


LOCATION…20.3N 114.6W

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




The change of Seasons – but one more storm?

It is still hot in San Felipe, but the relative humidity is dropping. We might get effects from one more storm brewing off the Acapulco-PuertoVallarta coastline. After that there should be the transition to our pleasant, 80 degree days, cool nights, crisp mornings, walk-on-the-beach weather.


Simon is a big, lazy, tropical storm that will bring lots of rain wherever it brushes the coast. The extent of the cloud cover south of Baja can be seen in the morning satellite picture below.

GOES-West_ Northeast Pacific Sector Visible

The favored track of all the big Pacific storms this season has been very consistent; forming off the southern Pacific coast of Mexico and drifting northwest along the Baja peninsular. This has been a very active year. Interestingly, the hurricane season in the Atlantic has been unusually quiet – so far.

Tropical Storm SIMON100214

Tropical Storm Simon, if it follows the trend of Norbert, Odile and Rachel could bring rain to southern and central Baja early next week. It is worth keeping an eye open to see how things develop for the northern gulf.




A week after Odile – relief efforts now in full swing; another storm on the horizon

Hurricane Odile severely damaged Southern Baja and convoys of supplies are now getting through. The transpeninsular highway south from Ensenada to the La Paz and Los Cabos regions is “open”. Temporary repairs have been made but travelers are strongly advised to delay all non-essential road trips. Gasoline and water are in very short supply.

The Los Cabos airport is scheduled to open again for regularly scheduled passenger flights on October 8th. The Mexican military services are bringing in emergency supplies by sea and charter planes. 

In the San Felipe area, everything is operating normally. The road from the border to San Felipe is fine and there is no problem driving any vehicle as far south as Gonzaga. A few high-clearance vehicles have made it from Gonzaga to the junction with the transpeninsular. It is not recommended vehicles towing trailers attempt this trip. 

Another storm is brewing south of the tip of the Baja peninsular. Rachel is not a hurricane at this time but the projected path does indicate that she could turn towards Baja early next week and bring more rain to the peninsular. No need to panic at this time.

rachel 092514 12noon

The Aftermath – 18th September

The threatened storm has passed away. Heavy rain is now falling in New Mexico and Texas. The latest storm, Polo, is advancing towards Baja but is forecast to turn out into the Pacific.

odile and polo 091814

Parts of Baja California Sur have been heavily damaged. Los Cabos, the airport and many fishing villages around the tip of the peninsular bore the brunt of the storm and there is concern that several thousand people are missing. DIF offices around the state are asking for donations to help the displaced families.

There are reports that the Transpeninsular highway has been heavily damaged a few miles south of Cataviña halting traffic in both directions. Other areas of damage are being reported between Ensenada and Cataviña. The road south of Chapala was flooded for many hours.

Bahia de los Angeles is still cut off. Several hundred meters of the highway has washed away and a landslide has covered the road – all this between km46 and 56. Power and all communications (except satellite phones) to that town of  600 families are down. It is estimated that half of the houses there have been damaged by Odile’s torrential rains. Many people had to climb on the roofs of their houses to escape the flood waters.

Puertecitos and Gonzaga had very heavy rains but no deaths have been reported.

San Felipe has had minimal damage from the rains.

Update 9/19/14

The unpaved section of the road between Gonzaga and Laguna Chapala was extensively damaged by rain. Repair work is  already underway.



Odile passes into mainland Mexico – mostly clear in San Felipe – 17 September

9:30 a.m. The general situation: We had around 0.25 inches of rain in the San Felipe region overnight, composed of occasional brief downpours. The sun broke through the clouds around 7 a.m. and the view to the north is only partly cloudy (see “current weather page” for the latest picture, temperature and wind conditions).

tidecam 091714 9_45am

Clouds still drift  towards San Felipe from the east and there are embedded rain showers in this flow as you can see in the graphic below which combines the doppler radar and satellite view of the clouds.

WunderMap® 091714 9_30am

We expect occasional showers to hit us over the next several hours but extensive precipitation is unlikely. The “educated” forecast is that we will get a fraction of an inch more rain today but will then be clear and warm for the rest of the week (below).

San Felipe, Mexico Forecast 091714

One thing we are keeping an eye on is the new tropical storm, Polo, projected to have a similar initial path to Odile. At this point we do not think it will affect San Felipe.

Tropical Storm POLO 091714





Storm approaching San Felipe – 16 September (update 5p.m.)

At 11 a.m. Tropical Storm Odile is still approaching San Felipe and we hope that the predicted turn to the northeast tonight does indeed happen. At present, the center of the storm is 25 km southeast of Bahia de Los Angeles, moving NNW at 15 km/hour.

Tropical Storm ODILE 091614

However, even with this turn, the forecast is for very heavy rains in our area for the next 24-36 hours and a significant storm surge on our beaches and local coastal flooding of low-lying areas. The storm surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves. We are fortunate that this is a period of relatively small tides in the northern gulf.

september tides14-20sept2014

We presently see that rain is falling at a rate of 2 inches/hour (torrential!) in the Gonzaga area with 30 mph winds from the north-northeast.

Communications were lost with the Bahia de Los Angeles automatic station about 2 hours ago when rain was coming down at a rate of 2.3 inches/hour, winds were 30 mph from the NNE.

The current cloud cover can be seen from the latest visible satellite picture below:

vis sat 091614 1130am


Yuma radar is picking up the major rainfall at the limit of its sensitivity (200 miles south of Yuma):

NWS radar image from Yuma, AZ

The current heavy cloud over San Felipe is seen in our tide cam picture. You can see the latest real-time picture on our “current weather” page.
sfe tidecam 091614 1145am-1



Update 5 p.m.

Unbelievable amounts of rain have fallen in the region today, yet the town of San Felipe has had essentially nothing but heavy clouds passing overhead.

Punta Final (Gonzaga) reports over 24 inches of rain since 9 a.m. this morning.

El Dorado (Los Viajeros) shows 10 inches this morning.

Punta Estrella has had 0.04 inches total. 

Las Palmas beach 0.01 inches total so far.

Downtown Delegacion Municipal 0.03 inches

Storm Graphic below:


WunderMap® | rain 091614 5_43pm



Odile hits Cabo – 15 September

Hurricane Odile made landfall at Cabo San Lucas overnight and has caused extensive damage to the tourism infrastructure there. The airport at Los Cabos has been closed and many places are without electricity. There are reports on CBS news of partial hotel collapses in the corridor from Cabo San Lucas to San Jose.

At 11 a.m this morning, the center of Hurricane Odile was located about 65 miles south of Loreto and moving northwest parallel to the west coast of the peninsular at 13 mph. Maximum sustained winds are 90 mph. See graphic below:

Hurricane ODILE


The hurricane is expected to weaken as it remains over the land and interacts with the mountains that form the backbone of the peninsular. Torrential rains have been occurring in the southern half of Baja and these rains will slowly drift north to affect the state of Baja California over the next 2-3 days. The storm remnants could pass over the northern Gulf of California starting Wednesday.

While the ground level winds will slow considerably, the high level atmospheric winds will take much longer to spin down. The circulation will transport rain to the desert southwest USA and northern Mexico. Local flash flooding can be expected – as was seen last week in the Phoenix area. This cloud cover can be seen in the 11 a.m. satellite picture below.

odile 091514 11am


On the longer term horizon, we see another potentially significant storm starting to develop 500 miles south of Acapulco. This could also follow the path we have seen with Norbert and Odile.


14 September – Hurricane Odile threatens Baja

Hurricane Odile has developed into a major storm with sustained winds of 135 mph. and is approaching Cabo San Lucas today. Odile is expected to be one of the four most significant storms to hit Baja in the past 50 years. The present projections call for the hurricane to move parallel, but much closer, to the west coast of the peninsular  in a fashion very similar to Hurricane Norbert a week ago.

Hurricane ODILE091414

While there is no imminent threat to the northern gulf at the moment, the progress of this cyclone and its interaction with strong high pressure over the southwest USA coupled with low pressure off  the west coast of California deserves to be watched. The National Hurricane Center in Miami advises:

Users are reminded to not focus on the exact forecast track, as
strong winds and heavy rainfall extend well away from the center of
Odile.  In addition, moisture from a disturbance over northeastern
Mexico and the Pacific ITCZ is forecast to be advected by Odile's
circulation northwestward across Mexico into the southwestern United
States by early next week.   This could result in heavy rains and
life-threatening flash flooding in those areas.  Please see
information from your local weather office for more details.