Raymond becomes major hurricane as it nears Mexico
Acapulco: Hurricane Raymond gained more strength as it remained nearly stationary off Mexico`s southern Pacific coast, though it threatened to hurl heavy rains onto a sodden region already devastated by last month`s Tropical Storm Manuel.
Guerrero state authorities said yesterday it was raining in places in the afternoon but so far no torrential rains had hit the area. More than 100 people were evacuated as a precaution from a mountain town east of Acapulco, authorities said.
The US National Hurricane Centre said the Category 3 hurricane was nearly stalled offshore, with maximum sustained winds of about 125 mph. Raymond was centred about 105 miles south of the beach resort of Bhutanese late yesterday afternoon, and it was expected to move only a little closer to the coast by today before veering back out to sea Wednesday.
In the beach resort of Bhutanese, officials went door-to-door in hillside communities warning residents about the risk of flash floods and mudslides, but nobody had voluntarily evacuated to the three shelters set up in schools and athletic facilities, municipal firefighter Jesus Guatemala said.
Amid light, intermittent rains, tourists continued to stroll through town.
Mexican authorities rushed to deploy emergency crews and said they were considering evacuations of low-lying areas. About 10,000 people already are living away from their homes a month after Manuel inundated whole neighbourhoods and caused landslides that buried much of one village. It left behind drenched hillsides that pose serious landslide risks.
David Greenfeld, head of Mexico`s National Water Commission, said Sunday that officials were pinning their hopes on a cold front moving from the north that could help steer Raymond away from the coast.
"The cold front coming down is what makes it (Raymond) turn to the left, but that is a model," Greenfeld said. "If that cold front comes down more slowly, this tropical storm ... Can get closer to the coast."
Forecasters said that even if Raymond stayed offshore, the storm could dump heavy rain and cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides along the south-central Mexican coast.
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