Hurricane Bud churns towards Mexico's Pacific coast
MANZANILLO, Mexico |
MANZANILLO, Mexico (Reuters) - Hurricane Bud lost some strength as it moved closer to Mexico's Pacific coast on Friday and was forecast to hit land south of the popular tourist town of Puerto Vallarta, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Bud, which weakened overnight to a Category 2 storm, is still expected to dump heavy rains in several states in western Mexico, threatening floods and landslides.
At Mexico's largest Pacific port of Manzanillo, skies were overcast and rainy before the forecast landfall later on Friday.
The hurricane, the Pacific's first of the 2012 season, had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph), the Miami-based center said.
Mexico has no significant oil installations on the Pacific coast.
"Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the hurricane warning area this afternoon," the center said in an advisory.
Located about 105 miles (170 km) southwest of Manzanillo, the hurricane was moving north-northeast at around 8 mph (13 kph) and Mexico's government issued a hurricane watch along the coast from Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes.
Bud is expected to soak the states of Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco and southern Nayarit with around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 25 cm) of rain.
In some places, the storm could dump as much as 15 inches (38 cm) of rain.
"These rainfall amounts could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the center said. "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion."
Most of Mexico's oil platforms and exporting ports are in the Gulf of Mexico and affected by storms in the Atlantic, where forecasters are expecting a "near normal" hurricane season this year with up to 15 tropical storms and four to eight hurricanes.
(Additional reporting by Michael O'Boyle in Mexico City; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
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