Loreto was on the outer bands of Hurricane Hilary and received a large amount of rain and strong winds during most of Saturday August 19, 2023. By Sunday morning the storm was gone and the clean up began. The image at the top of this post was taken on a still overcast Monday morning (August 21).
For the most part, Loreto had only minimal issues and should be back to normal by the end of the week. Other parts of the Baja were not as lucky and travel to and from Loreto could be a problem in the short term.
Most of the issues in Loreto Bay were either small leaks in houses or landscaping problems. Below are a series of pictures of the landscaping in need of repair and I would expect most of it to be much improved by the time you read this.
One of the hardest hit areas was Santa Rosalia, approximately a three hour drive North of Loreto on Highway 1. I’ll start with a shot of the raging floodwaters during the storm and then a couple of photos of the roads after the storm. If you’ve ever driven through Santa Rosalia, you’ll recognize the iconic train engine.
A problem with every storm is that parts of the highway undergo major damage that make the road unpassable in the short term. With Highway 1 being the main artery for all travel in the Baja, this can be a major problem since trucks with supplies can’t get through. Typically there are at least temporary fixes soon after a storm with bigger fixes coming later.
The first problem is on the infamous Cuesta del Infierno (Hell’s Slope) a few kilometers North of Santa Rosalia. Given that this is already a narrow windy mountain road, this repair will need to happen fast as there is no easy way to drive around it.
The next problem is a bridge out on Highway 5, south of Gonzaga Bay. Most likely there will be a way to drive around this once the waters recede.
There is definitely more damage to the highways than these two photos. At this point reports are still coming in and these show how both major highways are currently impassable. I believe the road from Loreto to La Paz is passable as I received a package from Amazon that didn’t ship until after the storm.
For those who come to Loreto in October or later, things should be greatly improved by then. Though if you are driving, you may have a few extra places where you have to drive around. If you are flying, the Loreto airport is open for business as usual.