Hurricane Andres Forms Off Mexico's Pacific Coast

By: AP
By: AP

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) -- The tropical tempest Andres strengthened into the Pacific season's first hurricane Tuesday, flooding homes, toppling trees and killing at least one person as it swiped Mexico's southwestern coast with wind and rain.

Andres packed maximum winds near 75 mph (120 kph), just over the threshold of hurricane strength, but was expected to weaken over the next day or two, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The center of the storm as of 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) was about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of the port city of Manzanillo. Moving near 13 mph (21 kph) toward the northwest, it was forecast to pass very close to or over the southwestern coast later Tuesday.

Mexican authorities had posted a hurricane warning for the coastal strip from just south of Manzanillo to near Puerto Vallarta, and heavy rain flooded homes and wind blew down trees in the states of Jalisco, Colima and Guerrero.

Rain poured down Tuesday on the port of Manzanillo, where authorities opened 14 shelters amid forecasts that the storm would likely graze the city.

Forecasters said Andres would then churn past tourist towns such as Barra de Navidad that are home to some American and Canadian expatriates.

It was raining lightly in Barra de Navidad on Tuesday afternoon but hotels were already preparing for the storm.

"We've been collecting candles, flashlights and other lights that don't use electricity, and we've been collecting bedspreads and sheets in case of an evacuation," said Mari Oregon, who works at Hotel La Alondra.

To the south, rain on Monday caused flooding in the resort of Acapulco that forced about 200 people to evacuate their homes. A fisherman drowned when choppy currents overturned his boat in a lagoon in Tecpan de Galeana, between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo, a state police report said.

The sun peeked through cloudy skies in Acapulco on Tuesday, but the government closed all schools.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Andres could bring a coastal storm surge as much as 3 feet (nearly 1 meter) above normal while dumping as much as 8 inches (200 millimeters) of rain in a few spots.

The forecast track showed the storm then weakening as it continued northwest along the coast before veering west into the open Pacific and just south of the Los Cabos resorts at the tip of the Baja California peninsula Thursday morning.

Late Sunday, Andres became the first named storm of the eastern Pacific hurricane season, which began May 15 and ends Nov. 30.

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