MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Lorena threatened to strike Mexico’s Pacific coast with heavy rain and high winds on Wednesday, as it gathered strength and barreled towards popular beach resort Los Cabos on the Baja California peninsula.
Lorena is expected to become a hurricane later on Wednesday as it moves on a northwestern trajectory approaching Mexico’s mainland Pacific coast, according to projections by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).
“Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 12 to 24 hours. After that time, Lorena’s intensity will depend on how much interaction occurs with the mountainous terrain of southwestern Mexico,” the NHC said.
The storm is now blowing maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 kph) and is located around 100 miles (160 km) south-southeast of the major port of Manzanillo, the NHC said in an advisory.
Lorena is expected to produce total rainfall of 5 to 10 inches, with maximum downpours of as much as 15 inches, along the coastlines of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco states.
“This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” according to the NHC.
The center has issued a hurricane warning from Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes and a tropical storm warning from Zihuatanejo to Punta San Telmo and from Cabo Corrientes to Punta Mita.
Lorena is expected to hit the coast as a hurricane close to Manzanillo, south of the popular tourist hub of Puerto Vallarta, before weakening and turning northwest, the Miami-based center’s forecasts show.
It is then likely to regain strength and pass just to the south of Los Cabos in Baja California as a hurricane early on Saturday before churning along the peninsula’s western edge.
“The forecast currently shows (Lorena) passing slightly west of Los Cabos, but this may be adjusted,” said Jorge Zavala, head of Mexico’s meteorological service.
“Even if it passes to the west, the impact zone of wind, precipitation and waves would affect Los Cabos. If the (storm’s) trajectory changes slightly to the east, the impact will be even greater,” added Zavala.
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