This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Raymond in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico. Raymond strengthened to a Category 3 storm early Monday

Hurricane Raymond heads towards storm-damaged stretch of Mexico

Newly formed Hurricane Raymond swirled on Sunday toward Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, an area already devastated by rains and mudslides from Tropical Storm Manuel last month.

MEXICO CITY — Newly formed Hurricane Raymond swirled on Sunday toward Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, an area already devastated by rains and mudslides from Tropical Storm Manuel last month.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center predicted Raymond would take a sharp westward turn and head out to sea before reaching land, but warned that the Category 1 storm still might get as close as 50 miles (80 kilometres), bringing the threat of heavy and possibly dangerous rains.

In a region where 10,000 people are still living away from their homes one month after Manuel caused widespread flooding and left landslide risks, officials hurried to get emergency teams in place and weighed possible further evacuations.

Mexican authorities pinned their hopes on a cold front moving from the north that could help force Raymond to turn away from the coast, said the head of Mexico’s National Water Commission, David Korenfeld.

“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.”

Raymond’s centre was about 135 miles (215 kilometres) south of the beach resort of Zihuatanejo and had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Sunday evening. The storm was moving north-northwest at about 6 mph (9 kph), the U.S. hurricane centre said. It said some additional strengthening was expected overnight and the storm’s forward motion was forecast to slow.

Authorities in southern Guerrero state, where storm deluges caused about 120 deaths from flooding and landslides in September, were more worried about Raymond’s potential to bring more heavy rains than its winds.

The state government closed seaports, set up 700 emergency shelters and urged residents in risk areas to take precautions. Officials were expected to decide late Sunday on whether to order more evacuations, including from low-lying areas of Acapulco that flooded during Manuel.

Forecasters said Raymond was expected to slowly approach the coast late Monday or Tuesday but then begin to meander. The centre said Raymond was likely to become a hurricane “very soon.”

Forecasts warned that heavy rainfall was possible along the south-central Mexican coast in coming days and could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch was in effect from Acapulco west to the seaport of Lazaro Cardenas.

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

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

Dozens of hillsides along the coast are thought to be unstable and could collapse from additional rain. In advance of the storm, the government moved helicopters and work crews to the places that problems were most likely.

Some villages high in the mountains of Guerrero were still without electricity and phone service following Manuel. About 5,000 people in Guerrero are still living in shelters after their homes were flooded, and another 5,000 who were evacuated from homes built on hillsides at risk of mudslides are staying with relatives on safer ground.

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.”

Just Posted

Red Deer’s Christmas Wish Breakfast helps children by collecting toys

Donations go to Red Deer Salvation Army and Red Deer Christmas Bureau

‘Fantastic Beasts’ flies to top of weekend box office

LOS ANGELES — “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” crawled, slithered and… Continue reading

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

A Canadian citizen who was aboard a plane that crashed through a… Continue reading

Canada Post workers continue strikes, await word on request for mediator

OTTAWA — Canada Post workers were continuing their rotating strikes today after… Continue reading

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Death of young Thai kickboxer brings focus on dangers

BANGKOK — The sight of two preteen boys pummeling each other with… Continue reading

Teenage driver survives spectacular crash at F3 Macau GP

MACAU — Teenage driver Sophia Floersch was set to undergo surgery Monday… Continue reading

David’s Bridal files for bankruptcy, but your order is safe

David’s Bridal is filing for bankruptcy protection but there is no danger… Continue reading

Taiwan president defends pro-independence film award winner

BEIJING — Taiwan’s president expressed her support for the prestigious Golden Horse… Continue reading

Pamela Anderson calls Australian PM’s comments ‘smutty’

LOS ANGELES — Pamela Anderson is criticizing Australia’s prime minister for making… Continue reading

Trump on Khashoggi death tape: ‘No reason for me to hear it’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said there is no reason for him… Continue reading

Searchers in California fires step up efforts ahead of rain

CHICO, Calif. — Searchers combing a Northern California town levelled by a… Continue reading

Disney details new ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ attractions

ORLANDO, Fla. — “Star Wars” fans will soon be able to pilot… Continue reading

Most Read