MEXICO CITY, Oct 20 (Reuters) – Hurricane Norma intensified as it spun toward the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula on Friday afternoon, threatening to bring heavy rains from Saturday to popular tourist resorts in the region. place
After weakening slightly earlier in the day, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Norma was once again at Category 3 strength, packing maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (193 km/h) while it goes north.
Norma is located about 195 miles (314 km) south of Cabo San Lucas, a popular resort city known for its golden sand beaches, nightlife and whale watching. The “major hurricane,” according to air force hurricane hunters, was moving northward at 8 mph (13 km/h), the NHC said.
“It’s a very strong storm,” state Governor Victor Manuel Castro told reporters at a press conference, describing it as “wrong.”
Castro called for all bars, clubs and other businesses to close Friday night, and for people to stay home. He added that public transport will close from 9pm to allow local hotel workers to go home.
Shelters have been set up with a total capacity for 10,000 people, he added.
The NHC warned of dangerous winds, heavy rains and possible flooding in southern Baja California through Saturday. It is forecasting that tropical storm conditions could reach as far as the state of Sinaloa on Mexico’s mainland Pacific coast once Norma makes its expected westward turn on Sunday.
Between 5-10 inches of rain is expected, and up to 15 inches (38 cm) in the hardest-hit areas around southern Baja through Sunday and then parts of Sinaloa on Monday, according to the NHC . It warns of possible flooding and possible mudslides.
“Life comes first, we don’t want any surprises,” added Castro.
“Everything shows that this storm will arrive early in the morning, attack like a bandit at night.”
Reporting by Sarah Morland and Natalia Siniawski; Editing by Deborah Kyvrikosaios, David Gregorio and Chris Reese
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