CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) _ Tourists fled hotels, desperately seeking flights home, and 15,000 residents of Baja California were ordered to higher ground Thursday as a slightly weakened Hurricane John bore down on the resort of Cabo San Lucas.
The storm soaked beaches on the mainland's Pacific coast before turning toward Baja California, where it was scheduled to nick the peninsula's southern tip on Friday. It was downgraded to Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles mph.
Officials were preparing to evacuate 10,000 people in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo and at least 5,000 others in La Paz, the capital of the state of Baja California del Sur.
Shop owners boarded up windows and hotel workers stripped rooms of light fixtures and furniture, in case plate-glass windows were shattered.
Residents emptied grocery shelves of food and water, and endured long waits for gasoline. At the airport, hundreds of tourists battled for seats on the few planes heading out of the isolated peninsula. Driving out wasn't much of an alternative _ there's only one narrow road, 400 miles long, leading to Tijuana.