Hurricane Waldo Destroys Crops, 600 Homes in Northwestern State
CULIACAN, Mexico (AP) _ Hurricane Waldo destroyed at least 600 homes and tore up soybean and corn fields on its sweep into northwestern Mexico but caused no deaths or injuries, state and federal officials said Thursday.
The storm slammed into the Pacific coastal state of Sinaloa early Wednesday with wind gusts up to 117 mph, according to the National Weather Service. By Thursday it had dissipated into scattered rain across north-central Mexico.
Gov. Antonio Toledo Corro flew over the hardest hit sections of southern Sinaloa and said damage appeared to be minimal. He said the worst damage was to houses and electricity towers.
Toledo Corro predicted it would be Saturday before crews could repair an electric tower that toppled in southern Culiacan, the state capital, causing scattered power outages. The army, which evacuated families from low-lying areas before the storm, was helping in the repair work.
The government newspaper El Nacional said at least 600 homes were destroyed in Culiacan, a city of about 420,000 people. The homeless were being sheltered in a city park.
About 600 acres of soybean and corn crops were ruined by the wind, according to estimates from the federal Agriculture and Hydraulic Resources Department.
Rivers and reservoirs swelled dangerously after more than 12 hours of rain, authorities said. At least eight neighborhoods in Culiacan were flooded when the Juarez River overflowed.
Gilberto Contreras Nateras, the federal agriculture representative in Sinaloa, said flood gates would be opened at several key dams to relieve the water pressure. The water levels in most reservoirs had been low before the hurricane but now were filled to 75 to 80 percent of capacity, he said.
Four helicopters and several small airplanes belonging to the federal attorney general’s office were damaged at an airport in Culiacan, the government news agency Notimex reported. The aircraft are used for surveillance of marijuana and poppy fields in the government’s war on narcotics.
In the resort city of Mazatlan, a telephone tower blew over Tuesday, halting service to at least four communities.