Strong hurricane heads for Mexico

Hurricane Norbert weakened to a still-potent category-three storm early on Thursday on a path expected to take it to Mexico’s southern Baja California peninsula over the weekend.

Norbert’s winds have decreased slightly to 185km/h after briefly hitting category-four force at 215km/h on Wednesday night, according to the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami.

Forecasters said it remains a dangerous storm.

In the state of Baja California Sur, authorities cancelled a weekend fishing contest in the coastal town of Todos Santos and changed the arrival dates in Los Cabos of two cruise ships.

Los Cabos mayor Oscar Nunez late on Wednesday urged residents living in makeshift housing and in low-lying areas to prepare to evacuate.

Luis Gonzalez, the state’s top civil protection official, said brigades were ready to begin evacuating residents of the towns of Agua Escondida, El Cardonal and Marquez de Leon on Norbert’s potential path.

In Ciudad Obregon, across the Sea of Cortez from Baja California, farmers rushed to finish fertilising their fields before the hurricane hit.

Norbert will likely turn toward the north-east over the next two days en route to the Baja peninsula and the north-western Mexican mainland, forecasters said.

The hurricane was centred about 620km south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California on Thursday morning and it was moving toward the north-west near 11km/h.

Tropical Storm Odile, meanwhile, grew a little stronger on Thursday morning, with maximum sustained winds near 85km/h. Forecasters said it might reach hurricane force by the weekend.

It was centred about 395km south-east of Puerto Angel and was projected to head north-west, parallel to Mexico’s Pacific coast but offshore.—Sapa-AP

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