At least one dead as Tropical Storm Nora lashes Mexico with heavy rain
By Alyssa Lukpat
Tropical Storm Nora was downgraded from a hurricane Sunday, a day after it formed, as it battered the western coast of Mexico and left at least one person dead, officials said.
Nora, which unleashed a torrent of rain and flash floods, was blamed for the death of a boy whose body was found after a hotel in Puerto Vallarta partially collapsed, said Jalisco Gov. Enrique Alfaro.
The boy, who came from Spain seven years ago, had been missing and was later found dead, Alfaro said. Authorities were searching for a woman who was in a car that was swept away by floodwaters. Alfaro added that the storm caused severe damage, mainly in Puerto Vallarta and Cihuatlán.
Nora was also blamed for at least two injuries in Jalisco, where two people were hurt Saturday in a landslide along a highway, the authorities in the state said on Twitter. A couple was rescued from floods in the state later that day.
At noon local time, the National Hurricane Center said the storm was moving northwest and was about 85 miles northwest of Mazatlán in Sinaloa state, with sustained winds of 70 mph. The storm made landfall Saturday in Jalisco state, which includes Puerto Vallarta, after it formed in the Pacific Ocean.
Nora was expected to move “very near” the western coast of Mexico, but it could dissipate if it turns inland “within the next day or so,” the center said. The storm was expected to weaken as it churned along the coast.
Although Nora was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, the storm still unleashed cascading floods and mudslides and prompted several water rescues, according to Mexican authorities. Authorities warned people living in mountainous regions that they should be prepared to evacuate if necessary.
Images emerged on social media showing homes collapsing and rescuers helping a man to safety as a deluge of muddy water threatened to sweep them away. One video showed a flood destroying a restaurant.
Along Mexico’s western coast, up to 12 inches of rain were forecast in some areas, bringing life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, the center said.
The center Sunday afternoon issued a tropical storm warning for most of Sinaloa state and a tropical storm watch for the southern portion of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.
As the storm approached Baja California, including the resort city of Cabo San Lucas, life-threatening surf and rip-current conditions were expected, the center said.
After the eye of the storm leaves Mexico, forecasters said, Nora is expected to bring rain and flash floods to parts of the Southwestern United States and the central Rocky Mountains.
Tropical Storm Nora devastated parts of Mexico the same weekend that Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, battering the state with life-threatening winds and floods in what could be the most devastating hurricane to strike Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
It has been a dizzying few weeks for meteorologists, who monitored three named storms that formed in quick succession in the Atlantic, bringing flooding and damaging winds to different parts of the United States and the Caribbean.
Tropical Storm Fred made landfall Aug. 16 in the Florida Panhandle. As Fred moved across the Southeast, it brought heavy rains and touched off several tornadoes. At least five people were killed after flash floods wiped out homes in western North Carolina in the wake of the storm.
Grace formed in the eastern Caribbean on Aug. 14, the same day a 7.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti’s western peninsula. The storm quickly moved west as the country struggled to free people trapped in rubble, bringing at least 10 inches of rain. Grace then made another landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula, bringing more heavy rain, power failures and hundreds of evacuations. A third landfall, on the eastern coast of Mexico’s mainland, left at least eight people dead.
And Henri formed Aug. 16 as a tropical storm off the East Coast of the United States. It strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane but was downgraded before making landfall in Rhode Island. It thrashed the Northeast with fierce winds and torrential rain, knocking out power to more than 140,000 households from New Jersey to Maine.
The links between hurricanes and climate change are becoming more apparent. A warming planet can expect to see stronger hurricanes over time and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms — although the overall number of storms could drop because factors such as stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming.