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Hurricane Season in Los Cabos

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Credits: Bennymarty | Adobe Stock images

The official hurricane season in Los Cabos is May 15 through November 30, but most of the summer and fall has the famous warm and sunny Cabo San Lucas weather.

Yes, the days in Los Cabos can be hot and humid during our hurricane season, but if you are already used to this type of climate in the summertime, you will probably find that Cabo is not any hotter and more humid than the place you came from.

The majority of the rainfall comes in September, and it’s around this time that Los Cabos could experience a travel advisory for a storm. Even though September is the busiest month of the hurricane season, it isn’t as severe as it might seem.

If there is a hurricane near Cabo San Lucas, city officials will make announcements and take precautions. Most years, a storm headed to Cabo San Lucas ends up being classified as a tropical storm and not a hurricane, and the city ends up just getting a few rainy days. Here’s a great resource for checking on storms that might affect Los Cabos.

The main difference between tropical storms and hurricanes is wind speed. During a hurricane, the wind will blow over 74mph. Anything less than that is a tropical storm. This might not seem like a significant difference, but there can be quite a bit of damage caused by winds ripping through town carrying more rain.

A major hurricane is classified as a Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane that has sustained winds of greater than 111mph. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a hurricane is categorized as “major” when it begins to inflict severe damage. Category 1 and 2 hurricanes have sustained winds between 74mph and 110mph and are dangerous, but typically result in no, or only minor, damage.

When there is a storm headed to Los Cabos, it often gets downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, and it rarely causes mass destruction. With that being said, there can be an unbelievable amount of rain that falls in a very short period of time during these tropical storms. Tropical Storm Lidia, which hit Los Cabos September of 2017, was one such storm. It dropped over 25” of rain in a 24-hour period.

Since 1951, only four major hurricanes have made landfall in Baja California Sur: Hurricane Olivia in 1967 (Category 3), Hurricane Liza in 1976 (Category 4), Hurricane Kiko in 1989 (Category 3) and Hurricane Odile in 2014 (Category 4).

The number of deaths that have occurred during a hurricane or tropical storm in Los Cabos is probably not as many as one might think. With current technology it has become easier to track and predict the direction of many storms. Most of the tropical storms and hurricanes in the eastern Pacific originate off the coast of Oaxaca and generally move north-to-northwest. Although the storms have been known to change direction just prior to hitting land, there are now plenty of warnings and predictions to help keep people safe.

Fatalities caused by hurricanes that have struck Los Cabos over the years vary from a high of over an estimated 600 in 1976 (Hurricane Liza) to 1 (named hurricanes in1996, 2007, 2008 and 2009). Los Cabos has experienced 21 hurricanes in the past 104 years.

So, a Los Cabos travel advisory for a hurricane is serious news, and during a storm, safety is the top priority. Because it’s in a sub-tropical climate, Cabo has prepared emergency plans for securing the city, and resorts have pre-arranged locations if a hurricane makes evacuation from the coast necessary. By following guidelines, you’ll be able to stay safe when the weather gets dangerous.

This year promises to be an active one. The municipal director released the list of names of eastern Pacific hurricanes forecast to hit the Pacific for 2022: Agatha, Blas, Celia, Darby, Estelle, Frank, Georgette, Howard, Ivette, Javier, Kay, Lester, Madeline, Newton, Orlene, Paine, Roslyn, Seymour, Tina, Virgil, Winifred, Xavier, Yolanda and Zeke. Hopefully, not all of these names will be used this year and, more importantly, they head west, not directly to Los Cabos.


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