CIUDAD CONSTITUCION, Mexico (Reuters) - Hurricane Jimena killed an elderly man who drowned when floodwater surged into his home in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, the first casualty of the weakening storm, officials said.
Neighbors found the 74-year-old man’s body on Thursday in his home in the small town of Mulege on the peninsula’s east coast, close to where Jimena, now graded a tropical storm, passed as it churned into the Sea of Cortes.
“He was alone in his house and he drowned,” Mulege Mayor Jose Manuel Murillo told Reuters, explaining that torrential rains caused a nearby small river to burst its banks.
Jimena formed quickly over the weekend and swelled into a treacherous Category 4 hurricane off Mexico’s Pacific coast, pummeling the luxury resort area of Los Cabos with high winds and driving rain.
It weakened to Category 1 level as it hit land on Wednesday but was strong enough to smash flimsy buildings, tear fishing boats from moorings, snap branches and flood desert towns like Ciudad Constitucion on the peninsula’s Pacific side.
By Thursday afternoon Jimena was moving slowly across the Sea of Cortes with moderate winds of around 40 mph and was forecast to peter out to a depression by Friday.
Towns like Mulege were without power and drinking water.
Jimena was the second eastern Pacific storm to strike Mexico this season after Andres swept a fisherman to his death near Acapulco in June.
Much of Baja California is mountainous desert, dotted with small towns. Those tourists that venture out of sun-drenched Los Cabos tend to be hikers or campers interested in seeing whales, cave paintings or vineyards.
Reporting by Manuel Carrillo in Ciudad Constitucion and Miguel Gutierrez in Mexico City