MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Lidia formed in the Pacific Ocean some 180 miles (290 kilometers) southeast of the tip of Mexico’s Baja California state, threatening to become a hurricane in coming days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday.
The storm is moving toward the north-northwest at about 7 miles per hour (11.27 kph) and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days, said the NHC.
According to forecasts, that should put the center of Lidia near the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula by late on Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds remained near 40 mph (64 kph)with higher gusts and some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
“Lidia still has the opportunity to become a hurricane before landfall,” said the NHC.
The storm could produce total rain accumulations of 8 inches to 12 inches (20-30 cm) across Baja California Sur and the western state of Jalisco, with isolated maximum totals of 20 inches (50 cm).
“These rains are expected to cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” said the NHC, adding that a dangerous storm surge is expected to also produce significant coastal flooding.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Baja California Sur from Puerto Cortes to San Evaristo and mainland Mexico from Bahia Tempehuaya to Huatabampito, as well as a hurricane watch for Baja California Sur from Puerto Cortes to east of La Paz.
Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Sandra Maler