MEXICO CITY: Tropical Storm Rosa neared Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula on Monday, spreading heavy rains that were projected to extend into a drenching of the U.S. Southwest.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the center of Rosa, which was a hurricane until late Sunday, should hit Baja California and Sonora late Monday, bringing 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) of rain.
It’s then expected to move quickly northwestward as it weakens, bringing 2 to 4 inches (5-10 centimeters) of rain to central and southern Arizona and 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters) to the rest of the desert Southwest, Central Rockies and Great Basin. Some isolated areas might see even more precipitation.
Rosa had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) Monday morning and was centered about 90 miles (140 kilometers) west-southwest of Punta Eugenia in Mexico. It was heading north-northeast at 12 mph (19 kph).
The Civil Defense agency for Baja California state said schools would be closed Monday in several communities, including the state capital of Mexicali, across the border from Calexico, California; San Felipe, on the northern Sea of Cortez; and south of Ensenada, on the peninsula’s Pacific coast.
Classes were also suspended in communities in Sonora, where Civil Defense officials advised people to avoid driving on the coastal highway.
The National Weather Service earlier announced flash flood watches through Wednesday for areas including southern Nevada, southeastern California, southwestern and central Utah and the western two-thirds of Arizona.
Forecasts call for heavy rainfall in the watch areas, which include Las Vegas, Phoenix and Salt Lake City, with possible flooding in slot canyons and normally dry washes and a potential for landslides and debris flows from recent wildfire burn scars.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Sergio was growing in the Pacific and could become a hurricane force Monday, though it posed no immediate threat to land.
Sergio had winds of 70 mph (110 kph) early Monday and was centered about 625 miles (1,000 kilometers) southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. The storm was moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).–AP