Hurricane Lane Downgraded to Tropical Storm After Hitting Mexico's Pacific Coast

Once-powerful Hurricane Lane dissipated on Sunday after slamming into a sparsely populated stretch of Mexico's Pacific coast south of the city of Culiacan and flooding streets and knocking out power in parts of the resort of Mazatlan.

The storm, which had been a Category 3 hurricane at landfall a day earlier, weakened to a tropical depression on Sunday after battering Mazatlan, prompting the cancellation of flights and the traditional Independence Day parade in this resort and retirement community popular with Americans.

Just before dawn local time, Lane's maximum sustained winds had faded to about 50 kph (30 mph) — down from 205 kph (125 mph) on Saturday, forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was about 105 miles (165 kilometers) east of Los Mochis, moving north at 11 kph (7 mph) and was expected to weaken further as the its center moves inland, the hurricane center said.

People living in low-lying areas were evacuated and shelters were set up for the displaced but by early Sunday all warnings for Mexico had been discontinued.

Earlier, the hurricane took an unexpected turn toward the mainland and caught Mazatlan off guard. Many awoke to strong winds and a pounding rain.

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There was no electricity Saturday at the Hotel Royal Villas, where receptionist Alma Baldez and other employees scurried to hand out candles to guests taking refuge in their rooms. Many had just arrived at the hotel after a long night celebrating Mexico's Independence Day. City officials canceled Saturday's celebrations as the storm approached.

"It's really ugly out there," Baldez said.

Later, dozens of surfers paddled out to massive waves whipped up by the storm, and residents splashed in knee-deep puddles.

"It was strong. It hit badly, but it could have been worse," said Carlos Borcio, a 25-year-old tourist visiting from Culiacan who was watching the waves and drinking beer with two friends.

Jesus Martinez rode his bike to work through flooded streets.

"It's better this way," he said. "Normally, it's really hot, and now it's nice."

Earlier this week, rains from the storm lashed coastal towns to the south, causing a landslide that killed a 7-year-old boy on Thursday in Acapulco and flooding across western Mexico that forced hundreds of people to abandon their homes.

It was the second hurricane to menace the region this month. Hurricane John unleashed wind and rain on Cabo San Lucas, a remote enclave on the Baja California's southern tip. Though the storm didn't directly hit the resort famous for deep-sea fishing, world-class golf courses and pristine beaches, it killed five people and damaged highways and homes in the region.

The peninsula, however, appeared to escape Hurricane Lane's wrath — even though the storm was originally forecast to hit it directly.

Dan McGonagle, a 46-year-old salesman from Littleton, Colorado, walked along the marina of Cabo San Lucas early Saturday, looking out on cloudy skies. Many stores still had their windows covered with wood.

"It's a relief," he said. "It could have been really scary. I mean they had sandbags out and were preparing for flooding at the hotel."

Also Saturday, Tropical Storm Miriam formed far off Mexico's Baja California peninsula, the National Hurricane Center said. Forecasters said there was a slight chance it would turn toward land later in the week, hitting a sparsely populated section of the peninsula's coastline.

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