How to Prepare for a Hurricane in Los Cabos, Baja
This is an update of the post we published in 2016. It is a good reminder for all of us to stay vigilent.
Los Cabos weather is beautiful, with sunny days almost year-round. There is a storm season, however, which typically lasts August–October; hurricane lasts May 15–November 30. With very little rain most of the year, any significant precipitation can result in immediate flooding that quickly hits low-lying areas. Stay out of flooded areas—walking or driving—as the current is much faster than it appears.
Hurricanes are strong storms that can be life threatening and cause serious property-threatening hazards, such as flooding, storm surge, high winds, and tornadoes. If you live in or are visiting a hurricane-prone area like Los Cabos, be smart know your hazard.
Here are some general tips.
- Make an emergency plan. If in a hotel, management will explain what to do and what to expect.
- If you reside in Los Cabos, build or restock your basic disaster supplies kit, including food and water, flashlight, batteries, chargers, cash, and first-aid supplies. Buy non-perishable food stuff in small quantities for individual consumption and have on hand in case of an emergency. Consider storage locations in case of emergencies.
- Review the items in your disaster supply kit; and add items to meet the household needs for children, parents, individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs or pets.
- Consider buying flood and/or hurricane insurance.
- Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground or to evacuate.
- Stay tuned to local wireless emergency alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.
Keep a list of contact information for reference.
- Public Safety, Fire, Rescue
- Law Enforcement
- Local Utilities
- Red Cross
- TV/Radio Stations
- Property Insurance Agent
Plan & Take Action
Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. Your friends and family may not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know whether your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity, or phone services are shut off? After major hurricanes, these services may be off for up to 10 days. If on vacation, notify friends and family at home that you will contact them as soon as you are able after the emergency has passed. Do not tie up the phone lines.
Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Know the difference between the threat levels and plan accordingly.
Hurricane: A circular windstorm in tropical or subtropical climates with a defined eye and winds of at least 74 miles per hour. Tropical cyclones, the general term for all large-scale circular windstorms in the tropics and subtropics, are called hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, near Hawaii, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Hurricane Warning/Watch: An announcement a hurricane is expected within specified coastal areas within 24 hours or less. Hurricane Watch is an announcement for specified areas that a hurricane poses a possible threat to coastal areas within about 36 hours.
Storm Surge: The rise in tide caused by a hurricane as it moves over or near the coastline. It can be much higher than normal astronomical tide and has high, breaking waves superimposed on it.
Tornado Warning/Watch: An announcement that tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are possible in a specified area. Tornado Warning is an announcement that a tornado has been detected in a specified area. Take shelter.
Tropical Depression: A weak storm system, with winds of 38 miles per hour or less and rotary movement only in the water’s surface.
Tropical Disturbance: A group of thunderstorms that moves together through the tropics for at least 24 hours, but with no noticeable circular motion.
Tropical Storm: A storm with distinct rotary movement of winds 39–79 miles per hour.
When a hurricane watch is issued:
Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, TV, or commercial radio.
- Check storm shutters or other protection materials for windows and doors, such as plywood, pressboard, and masking tape.
- Collect and place loose objects indoors.
- Fill automobile and boat tanks with fuel.
- Make preparations to secure your boat.
- Check portable radio, TV, flashlights, batteries, and candles or lantern fuel or batteries.
- Charge your cell phone. Make sure you have sufficient minutes. Use landline telephone only in emergencies.
- Obtain an adequate supply of special or prescription medicines, baby food, diapers, and sanitary needs.
- Stock up on nonperishable foodstuffs.
- Locate main turnoffs for utilities.
- Package valuables such as jewelry, titles, deeds, insurance papers, etc. for safe keeping in waterproof containers.
When a hurricane warning is issued:
- Listen to official announcements on the radio, TV, and NOAA Weather Radio, Civil Defense, or Red Cross.
- Develop a complete hurricane kit.
- Trim dead tree branches from foliage.
- Store loose outdoor items, anchor small sheds. Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, umbrellas, chairs, grills, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
- Board up windows.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings and store plastic bottles of water and newspapers in the vacant areas of the freezer. Open sparingly.
- Sterilize containers and fill containers, bathtubs, and washing machine with drinking water: a quart per person daily.
- Remove pictures and other items from walls, tape windows and doors that are not boarded or have shutters, and wedge sliding glass doors with a bar. Draw all drapes and blinds to stop flying glass.
- Remove valuables from home and place important documents in waterproof containers.
- Move furniture away from windows and cover with plastic.
- Lower and store TV antenna.
- Turn off pool electricity, add extra chlorine. Sink aluminum furniture in pool.
- Stay at home, if it is sturdy and on high ground and you feel secure, unless advised to evacuate by officials.
- If you do not have a car, arrange for transportation if you need to evacuate.
- Use the landline telephone only for emergencies.
- Brings pets indoors and protect livestock.
- If you have a generator, be sure to stock up on gasoline. Gas lines form quickly before a storm.
If advised to evacuate:
- Local authorities officially advise by TV and radio with specific areas to evacuate and which shelters are available.
- Act immediately. Travel with care, leave early and follow recommended routes. Stay away from low lying areas. Avoid obstructions, wires and trees. Listen to weather radio.
- Store perishables. Take reasonable amounts of nonperishables with you.
- Turn off main switches for utilities.
- Lock your home securely.
- Carry along bedding and a change of clothing, medicines, baby food, diapers, and personal hygiene requirements.
What to do at the shelter:
- Register your entire group.
- Volunteer to assist shelter workers.
- Keep building clean and sanitary.
- Only emergency rations are provided. Eat something before leaving home, if possible.
During the hurricane:
- Remain indoors. Hurricanes move in a circle. At the other side of the eye, it will appear that the storm is over. Not so. Winds rise very rapidly to hurricane force from the other direction.
- Prepare for storm surge and flooding.
- Electricity, water, gas, and telephone service may be interrupted. Stay calm. Listen to the radio for the ALL CLEAR.
When the storm passes:
- Leave shelter only when officially released.
- Stay away from the disaster area unless you live or work there.
- If your home was damaged, check for structural damage. Enter with extreme care, using a battery-operated flashlight.
- Avoid downed wires and trees, escaping gas, structurally damaged buildings, etc.
- Turn off outside gas at the meter or tank and air out your house several minutes.
- Turn off electricity until you are certain there is no danger of electrocution.
- Watch for snakes and other small animals that may get into your house.
- Don’t use appliances or motors that have become wet until checked by a professional.
- Don’t drink tap water immediately after the storm.
- Use landline phone only for emergencies.
- Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Avoid floodwater as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
Cleaning up after the storm:
You will be amazed at how quickly the urban areas are cleaned up and main roads cleared of debris in Los Cabos. The city is prepared well in advance. You can help by doing your part.
- Don’t wait for the city to clear your street. Get able-bodied neighbors together to clear paths for traffic and emergency vehicles.
- To eliminate health risk, separate household garbage from debris.
- Make temporary repairs soon, documenting damage with photos. Most insurance policies pay for temporary repairs. Know your policy and keep all receipts.
- Never pay the entire amount before repairs are satisfactorily completed.
Category 1 Hurricane Winds 74–95 mph
Category 2 Hurricane Winds 96–110 mph
Category 3 Hurricane Winds 111–130 mph
Category 4 Hurricane Winds 131–155 mph
Category 5 Hurricane Winds exceed 156 mph