Raymond Becomes Major Hurricane as it Nears Mexico

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Raymond strengthened to a Category 3 storm early Monday and threatened to hurl heavy new rains onto a sodden region of Mexico's Pacific Coast already devastated by last month's Tropical Storm Manuel.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the newly formed storm had nearly stalled offshore, about 165 miles (265 kilometers) west-southwest of Acapulco, and it was expected to move a little closer to the coast by Tuesday before veering back out to sea on Wednesday.

Mexican authorities rushed to deploy emergency crews and said they were considering ordering evacuations of low-lying areas. About 10,000 people already were living away from their homes a month after Manuel inundated whole neighborhoods and caused landslides that buried much of one village. It left behind drenched hillsides that posed serious landslide risks.

David Korenfeld, head of Mexico's National Water Commission, said 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," Korenfeld said. "If that cold front comes down more slowly, this tropical storm ... can get closer to the coast."

Forecasters said that even if Raymond stays offshore, the storm could dump heavy rain and cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides along the south-central Mexican coast.

"There will be rain for the next 72 hours along the Pacific coast — very heavy rain, torrential rain," Korenfeld said.

Raymond's center was about 115 miles (185 kilometers) south-southwest of the beach resort of Zihuatanejo and it had maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph) early Monday.

A hurricane warning was in effect from Tecpan de Galeana, up the coast from Acapulco, north to the port of Lazaro Cardenas. A tropical storm warning was posted from Acapulco to Tecpan.

Authorities in the southern state of Guerrero, where Manuel caused about 120 deaths from flooding and landslides in September, closed seaports, set up 700 emergency shelters and urged residents in risk areas to take precautions. Officials were expected to decide soon whether to order more evacuations, including from low-lying areas of Acapulco that flooded during Manuel.

The state cancelled classes in most coastal communities west of Acapulco, including Zihuatanejo. Schools are often used as emergency shelters in Mexico.

The potential for damage from such rains is high. About 50 dams in the area are still over capacity, and officials began releasing water to make room for expected rainfall.

Some villages high in the mountains of Guerrero were still without electricity and phone service following Manuel.

In Zihuatanejo, near the Ixtapa resort, authorities sent emergency personnel into low-lying areas to warn people to seek safer ground, said Miguel Quiroz, a local Red Cross dispatcher.

In Barra de Potosi, a beach area just outside Zihuatanejo, a light rain began falling Sunday but tourists were largely undisturbed by the storm's proximity.

"We've got bookings coming in, people are coming in," said London native Les Johnson, an employee at the Our House bed and breakfast. "There's people on the beach, it's quite nice ... there's no problem at the moment."


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, Trolling or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to comments@kbtx.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus
KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-188
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 228621571 - kbtx.com/a?a=228621571