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Five dead in Mexico's Baja as Tropical Storm Lidia weakens


Flooding has brought chaos to the area (AP)

Flooding has brought chaos to the area (AP)

Flooding has brought chaos to the area (AP)

A weakening Tropical Storm Lidia marched up Mexico's Baja California Peninsula on Saturday, flooding streets and homes in resort cities, stranding tourists and leaving at least five people dead.

Lidia's maximum sustained winds dropped to 40 mph (65 kph), just above the minimum threshold for a tropical storm, as its centre passed over a sparsely populated area of the peninsula that is home to a large nature reserve, and back out over Pacific waters.

It was forecast to lose more strength over the course of the day.

Authorities have said the death toll could rise over the weekend as emergency crews surveyed the damage in villages with ramshackle homes.

One person was considered missing and video broadcast on local networks showed vehicles being swept away by flooded rivers.

Baja California Sur governor Carlos Mendoza reported that Lidia had dumped about 27 inches of rain, "the largest amount of water we have had since 1933".

The dead included two people electrocuted by power lines, a woman drowned after being swept away by water on a flooded street and a baby ripped from its mother's arms as she crossed a flooded area.

Mr Mendoza said late Friday that there was a fifth victim but did not give details.

State tourism secretary Luis Genero Ruiz said about 20,000 foreign tourists were stranded after airlines suspended flights to the area.

About 1,400 people had sought refuge at storm shelters as the storm flooded streets and stranded tourists.

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The US National Hurricane Centre said Lidia made landfall early Friday west of La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur state.

The storm was centred about 40 miles northeast of Punta Eugenia on Saturday afternoon and was heading northwest at about 12 mph.

Earlier Lidia spread rains over a broad swathe of Mexico including the capital, where it was blamed for flooding that briefly closed the city's airport this week.

Far out over the Atlantic, meanwhile, Hurricane Irma was following a course that could take it near the eastern Caribbean Sea next week. It had maximum sustained winds near 110 mph and was moving west at 15 mph.

There was no immediate threat to land, and no coastal watches or warnings were in effect.


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