August 29, 2009 / 4:27 PM / 9 years ago

Hurricane Jimena blows towards Mexico resort

(Recasts with storm moving closer to Los Cabos)

MEXICO CITY, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Hurricane Jimena, a strong Category 2 storm, blew northward up Mexico’s Pacific coast on Saturday and was headed close to the Baja California peninsula resort of Los Cabos, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Jimena, a small but powerful hurricane, was still a safe distance from shore but was forecast to gather strength and brush Los Cabos, an upscale resort, on Tuesday, when the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will be meeting there to discuss tax havens.

On Saturday Jimena was located about 225 miles (365 km) south of the resort and port of Manzanillo and packing winds of up to 105 mph (165 kmh) with higher gusts.

It was moving northwest at around 12 mph (19 kph) and forecast to brush Los Cabos on Tuesday afternoon.

The NHC said Jimena was likely to become a major hurricane on Sunday and interests along the northern Pacific coast and in the Baja California area should monitor its progress.

Mexico has no oil installations in the Pacific and for the time being the oil exporting port of Salina Cruz and other ports in the area remained open. Mexican media reported that an oil refinery at Salina Cruz was shut following stormy weather on Friday evening, but had ample fuel supply in stock.

OECD head Angel Gurria will attend the Sept. 1-2 meeting in Los Cabos with officials from about 70 OECD and non-OECD countries. The Paris-based group wants to use the conference to persuade more countries to agree to share information useful to tax collectors.

Jimena is the second hurricane of the 2009 eastern Pacific season to brush close to Mexico after Andres pounded the same area in June, flooding Acapulco and sweeping a fisherman to his death. Acapulco, one of many resorts dotted along Mexico’s Pacific coast, is popular with Mexican and foreign tourists.

Hurricane Carlos formed in the Mexican Pacific in July but was too far out to sea to pose a threat.

Jimena’s hurricane force winds extended outward up to 25 miles (40 km) from the storm’s center.

Tropical Storm Kevin also gathered strength far out in the Pacific, some 1,035 miles (1,065 km) southwest of the tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and moving to the northwest. Kevin is the seventh named storm of the month in the eastern Pacific. (Reporting by Catherine Bremer)

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