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Hurricane Brushes Mexican Resort

September 8, 1999

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) _ Hurricane Greg weakened to a tropical storm as it brushed the tip of Mexico’s Baja California Tuesday, causing heavy rain, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents and stranding frustrated American tourists.

Flood waters rose thigh-deep at crossroads outside of Cabo San Lucas, flooding some buildings. Army jeeps carried local residents across the flooded area to their homes.

But tourist cafes reopened their doors and residents began to return to their rain-soaked homes.

``Hurricane? What hurricane? I didn’t know about it,″ said Lisa Enger, a sales representative from Phoenix, Ariz.

At 8 p.m. EDT, Greg’s center was located just off the Baja coast northwest of Cabo San Lucas, creeping slowly northwestward. The U.S. Hurricane Center in Miami said Greg’s sustained winds had fallen to about 55 mph.

In the mainland states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Colima and Sinaloa, floods caused by storms associated with Greg over the weekend began to recede Tuesday. In Jalisco, hundreds of people who evacuated their homes began returning Tuesday.

Though tropical storm warnings remained in effect in the area, local officials were relieved.

``We believe the greatest danger has already passed,″ said Jorge Maraver, an official with the Cabo San Lucas Civil Protection agency.

Merchants had taped their store windows to strengthen them against winds, and people have stocked up on bottled water and gasoline in case flooding cut pipelines.

As the center of the storm approached, the only damage reported was in the poor neighborhoods tucked in the sandy folds of the desert a few miles from the ritzy hotels of this popular fishing resort.

About 1,000 people took refuge overnight in Cabo San Lucas and nearby San Jose del Cabo, civil defense agencies reported.

But nearly all of the people went home in the morning.

``Yes I’m worried, but I stayed here last night and the water didn’t reach my house,″ said Gloria Nava, whose tiny cinderblock home is only 10 yards from a stream. Local officials had put a sticker on the house declaring it a ``high-risk site.″

Soldiers urged Nava and her two children to go to a shelter, but Nava said she would stay put. ``We have our things here, and we don’t want to go,″ she said.

At the nearby San Jose del Cabo airport, frustrated American tourists, many wearing shorts and carrying beach bags, cursed the airlines after most flights were canceled.

Mary Hauser, a saleswoman from Oklahoma City, was clearly disappointed. Asked what she planned to do, she said: ``Sulk in my room.″

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