Odile, a tropical cyclone that was since downgraded to a tropical depression, dissipated over the mountainous region in northwestern Mexico, about 125 southwest of Arizona, on Wednesday September 17th. Even though it lost its status as a tropical cyclone, it still brought moisture into the southwestern U.S which lead to serious flash flooding in many locations throughout New Mexico and Texas in the days after.
Odile wreaked havoc in Mexico, killing five people in its wake. It first formed as a tropical depression on September 10th, and then quickly turned into a tropical storm six hours later. This storm benefited from low wind shear and warm water three days after it began formation. It grew from a tropical storm Friday Sept. 12th, to a category 4 hurricane by Sunday Sept. 14th.
There was lower central pressure present, which is normally associated with stronger winds or a larger wind field, but both can increase the chance of a storm surge. Hurricane Odile made history as being the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. It is currently tied with Hurricane Olivia that occurred in 1967.
The National Hurricane Center recorded that Odile made landfall on the Baja California peninsula at about 10:45 p.m on Sunday near Cabo San Lucas. This hurricane had sustained winds of 125 mph, categorizing it as a Category 3 hurricane.
At 11 p.m on Sunday, winds of up to 116 mph were recorded at a Weather Underground observation site near San Jose Del Cabo. The damages that were done to Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, and La Paz were extensive. Many tourists were stranded after the airports by the storm. Also, dozens of people were also injured due to flying debris.
Odile was then downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday evening (Sept 15th) as it continued to make its way up the peninsula near Cabo San Lucas.
It continued to weaken and slow down after it crossed the warm waters of the northern Gulf of California. It made its last landfall in the northwestern mainland of Mexico late on Wednesday morning (Sept 17th), after it had weakened to tropical depression status.
Even though the hurricane has gone from the area for over 2 weeks, the aftermath still remains. Only about 19 percent of the customers in Los Cabos, the hardest area that Odile hit, have had their power restored. About 27,000 people, most of which were tourists, were airlifted out of the area. Over 200 special flights were called in due to the fact that the Los Cabos International Airport was highly damaged by Odile. The airport is not scheduled to re-open until October 8th, according to the Tourism Department.
A secretary stated that not a single power pole was left standing in Los Cabos, making it hard to re-establish the electrical grid.
According to the FCE, 3,900 employees were working in Baja California Sur to restore power to residents and resorts, and 280 emergency generators were being used to provide essential services.
About 8,000 troops were also dispatched to Los Cabos to restore order and distribute much needed supplies. At least 23 people have been arrested on suspicion of theft.