1 Killed in Rains and Flooding from Hurricane Hilary Near Santa Rosalía


Torrential rains from Hurricane Hilary hit the postcard-perfect town of Santa Rosalía in Mexico’s state of Baja California Sur on Saturday, sending streams of brown floodwaters coursing through its streets of colorful houses.

Mexican civil protection authorities said on Saturday night that one person had died after a family’s vehicle was swept away by a stream just north of Santa Rosalía. Edith Aguilar Villavicencio, the mayor of the local municipality of Mulegé, said that four others in the vehicle had been saved but that rescuers could not reach the fifth “without exposing their own lives.”

On Sunday morning, she said that the hurricane had caused “very severe” damage to Santa Rosalía, which is home to about 14,000 people. She posted a video while driving through the area to assess damage, describing downed utility poles and branches in the streets.

Santa Rosalía was built on the coast of the Gulf of California by a French copper company, El Boleo, in the 19th century. It was at one point the country’s only major producer of the ore and boasts a fishing industry.

But in recent years, Santa Rosalía has emerged as a popular tourist destination — charming visitors with its wood-frame buildings and prefabricated steel church designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame. The church was thought to have been destined for Belgium but somehow was shipped in sections to Santa Rosalia instead in the late 1800s.

In June, the state ministry of tourism named Santa Rosalía a “magical town.”


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