LA PAZ, Mexico (AP) – Hurricane Otis weakened to a tropical storm Sunday and headed north toward an unpopulated stretch of the Baja California Peninsula, while a tropical depression strengthened to a tropical storm just before hitting land in southern Mexico.

Tropical Storm Stan formed before dawn Sunday and then plowed into land about 40 miles southwest of Tulum, on the Yucatan Peninsula. It carried maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The storm was expected to dump up to 15 inches of rain in some areas of the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize before weakening to a tropical depression. No major damages or injuries were immediately reported, and the storm was expected to move mostly south of the popular resort of Cancun.

Along the Pacific coast, the Mexican government issued a tropical storm warning for the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula as Otis continued to sideswipe the narrow stretch of land. No injuries have been reported.

The slow-moving storm was inching along the coastline at 3 mph and was expected to hit a deserted stretch of coastline late Sunday or early Monday. It carried maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and was expected to weaken over the next 24 hours, the National Hurricane Center said.

Preparing for the storm, Baja California state officials had asked soldiers to help evacuate the islands of Magdalena and Margarita, off the coast of Comondu.

Over 1,000 people evacuated by Saturday as rains from the storm’s outer bands led to flooding in the poor outskirts of Cabo San Lucas, where many homes are little more than wooden shacks. Officials went door-to-door as part of a voluntary evacuation plan.

The resort’s hotels in Cabo San Lucas escaped major flooding.

Otis was the 15th Pacific storm of the season. Unlike powerful Atlantic storms such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Pacific hurricanes tend to do less damage because they make landfall less frequently.

Like their counterparts in the Atlantic, Pacific storms are given names that correspond to the alphabet.


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