Mexico Braces Itself As Hurricane Newton Makes Landfall

Hurricane Newton is currently making landfall near Baja California in Mexico. The Category 1 tropical storm -- the fifteenth of the season -- is churning winds up to 185km/hr, and has already resulted in flooding along the Pacific west coast. Newton as seen at 3:45AM AEST on Tuesday, September 6 just as it was designated a Category 1 hurricane. (Image: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team)

Earlier today, a Hurricane Warning was issued along a swath from Cabo San Lazaro to Mulege, including Cabo San Lucas, and from Guaymas to Bahia Kino, Mexico. At 1:00AM AEST, the hurricane was located about 180km northwest of Caba San Lucas and 80km west of La Paz, Mexico.

Newton is expected to produce heavy rainfall over a long distance -- from Baja California, Mexico all the way to the US southwest. The National Hurricane Center is predicting total rain accumulations of 20 to 30cm over the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, and 12 to 25cm over Sinaloa, Sonora, western Nayarit and Jalisco.

Rainfall potential. (Image: NOAA)

The outer rainband of the hurricane has already wreaked havoc in Mexico. In Guerrero, nearly 700 homes were flooded and 12 communities isolated, resulting in the mobilisation of 817 troops to help with the clean-up. At least three deaths are being blamed on the storm system.

Projected storm path. (Image: NOAA)

Newton is expected to weaken once it makes landfall later today, but officials warn of life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, particularly in mountainous areas. Americans living in Arizona and New Mexico could also feel the effects of Newton, and are being advised to stay tuned to local weather conditions.

[NASA]