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Juliette weakened but deadly

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CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico — Hurricane Juliette lost power as it lingered over the southern tip of Baja California on Saturday, weakening to a tropical storm after causing heavy flooding and killing three people.

Winds that roared in at 85 mph slowed to about 50 mph, and rain stopped over Cabo San Lucas, a resort city of 25,000 people.

Floodwaters that had cut off about 3,000 people in three neighborhoods dropped rapidly. Some businesses reopened as workers filled wheelbarrows with debris and removed protective tape and boards from windows. Electricity was restored to parts of the city by mid-afternoon, but phone service was limited.

Red Cross workers said they had not been able to contact the city of Todos Santos, where the storm was believed to have touched land, about 45 miles north of Cabo San Lucas.

Luxury beachfront hotels in Cabo San Lucas sustained only minor damage, and many tourists stayed hunkered down inside with no immediate hope of getting home.

The airport in nearby San Jose del Cabo remained closed and Juliette washed out a portion of the El Tule bridge, cutting off access to the rest of the peninsula. Some four-wheel-drive vehicles and pickup trucks made their way gingerly across the bridge, but it remained unsafe. Floodwaters also blocked secondary roads leading out of the city.

"I just want to go home," said Pam Doph, 44, of Las Vegas, looking at the damaged bridge. "Oh my stars. At this point I'll carry my suitcase and just walk out of here. Las Vegas is looking good right now."

Juliette flattened some of the poorer residents' wooden shacks or ripped off their aluminum roofs, and about 800 people had to be evacuated by wading through knee-deep water.

The storm uprooted trees and knocked down power lines, although most of the city sustained no major damage.

The body of a 33-year-old man was found floating in rough seas Friday near Huatabampo, a mainland Mexico port 250 miles north of Cabo San Lucas.

The storm also was blamed in two other deaths, including William Creson, 45, of Denver, who drowned while surfing in 10-foot waves as the storm approached Wednesday. A fisherman died in high seas Monday near Acapulco.

The storm was expected to move little, prolonging rains and high winds over the peninsula. The National Hurricane Center in Miami warned that Juliette could dump as much as 6 to 10 inches rain over central and southern Baja California, bringing the threat of flooding and mudslides.