Tropical Storm Polo passes south of Baja California, but drops rain on area bashed by Odile

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MEXICO CITY — Tropical Storm Polo churned south of the Baja California Peninsula on Saturday night, whipping up waves along the shore and swirling more rain onto residents trying to recover from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Odile.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Polo was centered about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Cabo San Lucas on Saturday night. Its sustained winds had weakened to 40 mph (65 kph) and the storm was moving to the west-northwest at 7 mph 11 (kph). Polo's center was forecast to pass by during the night and begin moving farther from land.

The center predicted Polo would continue losing strength over the weekend. It warned, however, that coastal areas could see dangerous surf and rip-current conditions. Mexican authorities alerted residents to the danger of heavy rain.

Polo came six days after Odile, a Category 3 hurricane, lashed Cabo San Lucas and the nearby city of San Jose del Cabo, knocking out power and water service in the area. Authorities sent in federal troops and police to help restore order and calm outbreaks of looting. Tens of thousands of tourists were flown out from the coastal resort region.

Many areas remained without power or water Saturday. Authorities were bringing in food, generators and other necessities for hurricane victims, many of whom lost their homes.

Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong toured the area between La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur state, and the Los Cabos resort area. He told the Televisa network that the area was now under "total control."

Odile not only destroyed homes but damaged the airport and many parts of the hotel zone, he said.

Power had been restored to 60 percent of customers in La Paz, but work in Los Cabos would take "a few more days," Osorio Chong said.

"There is practically not a single power pole standing. That is the magnitude of the problem that we have," he said. "It is the worst catastrophe that we have had in terms of the power of a weather event."

Four deaths have been attributed to the storm. Osorio Chong confirmed that two Korean men were killed when their vehicle was swept away by rushing water, while state police said another man died in a similar circumstance. State prosecutors said the body of a British woman, who had been traveling on a sailboat, was found in the bay of La Paz. Her husband, who was traveling with her, remained missing.

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