LAST UPDATED 10/21/2009 7:00 AM MDT

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Hurricane Rick rapidly grew from Tropical Storm to a giant Category 5 hurricane, in only a couple days.  It was the second strongest hurricane ever present in the Eastern Pacific (Hurricane Linda in 1997),  and the strongest in over a decade.  However, it weakened from sustained winds of 180 mph to only 55 mph almost as quickly as it grew, and ended up going well south of Cabo San Lucas, eventually making landfall about 15 miles north-northeast of Mazatlan, where it dropped a good amount of rain, and toppled a few signs and caused some brief local flooding.  Cabo San Lucas, meanwhile, was spared any damage or flooding from Hurricane Rick - there were some heavy showers for a couple of days, but residents awakened to blue skies and sunshine the next day.  You would never know there was a hurricane warning in the area just hours before.

*A tropical storm warning was issued for the Cabo San Lucas area, but no tropical storm conditions ever reached Cabo.  A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 24 hours. This also means there was no predicted chance of hurricane conditions within Cabo San Lucas by the time it reached the coastline.*

Evacuation Update

No evacuation notice in Cabo was issued due to Hurricane Rick.

The Forecast

Hurricane Rick was initially predicted to strike the Baja sometime late Tuesday Oct 20th  or early on Wednesday Oct 21st possibly as a massive Category 5 hurricane.  However, Rick weakened quickly, and the forecast was changed first to a category 3, category 2, then a category 1, then a tropical storm.  It was first predicted to hit Cabo directly, then north near La Paz, but it ended up going quite far to the south, though, and no tropical storm conditions were present in the Cabo San Lucas area.

Current Wind Statistics for Hurricane Rick

Tropical Storm Rick made landfall in Mazatlan with sustained winds of 55 mph with tropical storm force winds extending out 150 miles from the eye.  As it passed well south of Cabo, the winds here were minimal - only about 15 mph, though with some strong gusts for a short time.  There was no damage due to wind in Cabo, business as usual.

Note: 74mph is considered a Class I Hurricane.  By comparison, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast at 135 mph, a category 4 hurricane.

What is a  Tropical Storm?

Sustained winds of between 39-73 mph.  Above that it becomes a hurricane.

Rainfall Statistics for Cabo San Lucas

Rainfall forecast during Hurricane Rick was originally anticipated at about 8.5 inches, which is about Cabo's annual rainfall total.  Flash flooding was possible, with standing water on the streets.  However, Cabo only received about 4 inches of rain over a span of two days, and street flooding was minimal.

Water Levels

Nothing to report yet.

Impact on Your Tours

There was no appreciable impact on tours in Cabo due to Hurricane Rick, as winds were minimal.  There were a few tours disrupted, of course, including cruise passengers that missed port for a couple days, so if you need to reschedule or cancel, or have a question about obtaining a refund, just give us a call.  1-877-828-2564.  The Bisbees Fishing tournament that appeared in jeopardy continued as scheduled.

What This Means to You

You will notice nothing out of the ordinary when you arrive in Cabo.  Business is going on as usual. Hurricane Rick missed by quite a large margin, and no damage occurred - just another run of the mill tropical storm as we receive many times every year.


3 Day Cone

5 Day Cone

Hurricane Force Wind Probabilities

Tropical Storm Force Wind Probabilities

Wind Probabilities

Wind History

Mariners 123

Wind Speed Table


The media reporting during Hurricane John in 2006 was perhaps the worst example of journalism we've ever seen.  Articles with headlines "Hurricane John Lashes Puerto Vallarta" were published - meanwhile the maximum wind speed in Puerto Vallarta was only about 10 mph, with less than an inch of rain.  Sensationalistic TV reports showed images from past hurricanes and other towns to make it seem newsworthy, while the real story was so much different. The one flooded street in Acapulco was shown over and over to make it seem like the town was devastated, which couldn't have been further from the truth.  The misrepresentation of the facts was widespread.  Please take this into consideration when reading the following articles.

Weakened Tropical Storm Rick Nears Mexico Coast
10/20/09 - 6:12 AM

Tropical Storm Warning Issued in Baja California
10/20/09 - 5:53 AM

Hurricane Rick Weakens to a Category 4 Hurricane
10/18/09 - 11:40 PM

Hurricane Rick Weakens in the Pacific, Still Dangerous
10/18/09 - 11:00 PM

Hurricane Threatens Mexican Resort City
10/19/09 - 12:25 AM
(Boston Globe)

Hurricane Rick Roars Across the Eastern Pacific
10/18/09 - 12:02AM

Hurricane Rick Becomes a Category 5 off Mexico
10/18/09 - 2:25AM

Hurricane Rick Becomes Extremely Dangerous Storm
10/17/09 - 11:45PM

Hurricane Rick Builds to a Category 5 off Mexico
10/18/09 - 12:01AM

Hurricane Rick Strengthens off Mexico Coast
10/17/09 - 6:37PM


NOAA Satellite Imagery

Cabo Webcams

Hurricane Rick Strengthens to a Category 5 Storm
9/17/06 (You Tube)


NOAA Satellite Imagery


Listed Below in blue are the Airlines that have issued announcements about cancellations and delays due to Hurricane Rick.  Click the links for more info.


Alaska Airlines

Continental Airlines

American Airlines

Frontier Airlines

United Airlines

U.S. Airways


Listed Below are the Cruise Lines that have issued announcements about cancellations and delays due to Hurricane Rick.

Carnival Splendor – The ship will visit Ensenada on Monday, Puerta Vallarta on Thursday and Cabo San Lucas on Friday.

Carnival Spirit – At this time, the ship is planning to operate the scheduled itinerary. However, changes may be required based on the actual path and speed of the storm.

Radiance of the Seas  is scheduled to depart San Diego, California, on Monday, October 19. According to the most recent weather forecasts, the ship will be able to depart on time and head south to Ensenada, Mexico. However, it is too early to know if the storm track will permit the ship to continue to visit Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on Thursday. Should the ship be unable to visit Cabo San Lucas, an alternate itinerary has been arranged, in which guests would visit Ensenada, Mexico, Los Angeles and Catalina Island, California.

Sapphire Princess will sail an altered itinerary as follows: Monday at sea; Tuesday, San Francisco; Wednesday, Catalina Island; Thursday, San Diego; Friday, Ensenada, Mexico; and Saturday, Los Angeles.

Holland America's Veendam and Statendam are scheduled to be in the region this coming week -- Veendam earlier in the week, Statendam after transiting the Panama Canal. A Holland America spokeswoman tells us that "Veendam is on a chartered sailing and is planning to call on Cabo San Lucas as scheduled [on October 19]. Options for Tuesday and beyond are being discussed. Other itinerary changes are likely for both ships but are not fully determined yet. We should know more by mid-morning Monday.

See updates at Cruise Critic