June 21, 2011 / 12:39 AM / in 7 years

Hurricane Beatriz hits Mexico's Pacific coast

MANZANILLO, Mexico (Reuters) - Hurricane Beatriz bore down on Mexico’s Pacific coast on Tuesday, putting tourist areas and major ports on alert for heavy rainfall and flash floods, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The eye of the hurricane was about 50 miles northwest of Manzanillo, with sustained winds near 90 miles per hour, and was expected to move north along the coast through the day, the center said in its 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) update.

The storm sparked hurricane warnings along the Mexican coast from Lazaro Cardenas northwestward to Cabo Corrientes, the Miami-based center said.

The storm, a Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, is expected to begin weakening later today or tonight, the storm center said.

People stand next to a car swept out to the shore after high waves caused by the approach of Tropical Storm Beatriz broke inland in Acapulco, June 20, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

Mexico has no major oil installations in the Pacific but its coast is dotted with beaches popular with U.S. tourists.

The Mexican government said the coastal states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco should prepare for 10- to 13-foot (3- to 4-meter) waves and 6 to 12 inches of rain.

Cars swept into the ocean by high waves caused by the approach of Tropical Storm Beatriz are pictured by the shore in Acapulco June 20, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

A storm surge was expected to cause coastal flooding in the hurricane warning area.

Hurricane Adrian, which formed earlier this month and caused no damage, was the first hurricane of the 2011 Pacific season.

Forecasters are expecting a rash of storms the Atlantic this year, with some predicting at least five major hurricanes of Category 3 or stronger.

Additional reporting by Patrick Rucker in Mexico City; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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