Hurricane Jimena's Effect in Fresno

September 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno artist Frank Arnold is dry and safe more than one thousand miles north of hurricane Jimena. But his new art gallery in Baja is expected to get walloped by the outskirts of the storm's wind and potential flooding. He said, "We tried to be prepared for it. Where the gallery sits now used to be a little home and 2 times has been 5 foot under water." The picture he's painting in his mind of the hurricane's destruction is much darker than the colorful images he creates on canvas. "When this flood is going to happen its going to wipe the whole town out."But he isn't as worried about his stone shrouded art gallery as he is about those who live on the peninsula and rely heavily on tourism. Arnold said, "I just think those people work real hard to try to create something at their best expectations."

Denise Donathan, owner of Winsome Travel Agency said the weather keeps most tourists away from the Baja peninsula this time of year. But those who did book floating vacations have to go with the flow as cruise lines avoid the storm and change itineraries. Donathan said, "Some customers will have a big problem with that. They may offer them on the ship some on-board credit, discounted bar drinks or something on board to try and compensate people for the missed ports."

At the Fresno airport, Bass Lake resident Conrad Doxey said luck was on his side as his Baja vacation happened to end just hours before the big storm barreled in. Doxey said, "There were some hotels that turned people out, said time to go. Some people cut their vacation short because they didn't wan to stay 3 or 4 days in a storm."

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