Parts of the Baja California peninsula will continue to experience hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall through Monday as Hurricane Odile crawls northward at 17 mph, meteorologists report. The Category 3 hurricane, with sustained winds topping 125 mph, whipped palm trees and pounded the rocky shore with heavy surf along the southern tip of the peninsula, home to huge tourist resorts and small fishing communities.
Hurricane Odile is the strongest storm to ever hit Mexico’s southern Baja California peninsula, according to NBC News. Officials urged tourists to take shelter in one of the many hotels along the coast and told local residents to evacuate. "If past reports are anything to go by, the most serious damage will be revealed when it gets light,” the Weather Channel meteorologist Nick Wiltgen said Monday morning as the storm bore down on the city of La Paz around 5:30 a.m. EDT. Odile flooded parts of the coast with torrential rainfall of five to 10 inches.
Some 800 marines were on standby in Baja California Sunday night and into the morning as Hurricane Odile made landfall. Marines were ready with heavy equipment to assist if mudslides and flooding occurred.
Hotels became shelters to some 30,000 tourists in the state of Baja California Sur. Officials warned guests to stay inside and keep way from windows and doors. At least 22 flights were canceled in anticipation of the storm, stranding many international visitors who had hoped to get out before the storm hit. Some hotel guests posted videos of the hurricane to Instagram: