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Tropical Storm Paul swipes Mexico

Satellite imagery
Satellite imagery

The Canadian Press

October 16, 2012 — Hurricane Paul weakened to a Tropical Storm in the Pacific Tuesday before hitting the Mexican coast.

Forecast track
Forecast track

It was raining, but that didn't scare tourists on Mexico's southern Baja peninsula who saw the impending arrival of Hurricane Paul as a minor inconvenience. Some went to Medano Beach on Monday to watch the heavy surf. 

Paul weakened to a Category 1 storm in the eastern Pacific late Tuesday before being downgraded further to a Tropical Storm. 

Still, the state government cancelled school, prepared shelters and urged resident to stay informed. 

"We don't intend to alarm people unnecessarily," said Gov. Marcos Covarrubias Villasenor. "Rather we want citizens to be aware, don't cross streams unnecessarily, and stay in your homes if you don't need to leave to avoid creating traffic. The forecast is for heavy amounts of rainfall in most of the state." 

The Mexican government extended its hurricane warning for the west coast northward to Punta Abreojos. The hurricane centre said the centre of Paul should move inland along the coast by Tuesday night and be near or over the central Baja peninsula on Wednesday. The hurricane was expected to continue to weaken Tuesday, the hurricane centre said.

Paul is on track to bypass the heavily populated tourist areas of Los Cabos at the tip of the peninsula, and the capital, La Paz, on the eastern Gulf of California. But the state government as a precaution readied 143 shelters that could take up to 35,000 people in the tourist zone. 

Classes were suspended for Tuesday statewide, and ports were closed to small vessels in the capital, La Paz, Los Cabos and Comondu. 

The storm was forecast to brush Baja's Pacific coast farther north near Puerto San Carlos, a sparsely populated area of fishing villages, before turning northward along the coastline. 

The outer cone was forecast to pass over the entire peninsula farther north in the towns of Meluge, Comondu and Loreto.

State civil protection authorities said they had sent advance teams from the federal electricity and water commissions to help maintain services during the storm.

In the Atlantic, meanwhile, Rafael reached hurricane strength late Monday south of Bermuda. The hurricane centre said Rafael's top sustained winds had risen to near 140 km/h, making it the ninth hurricane of the Atlantic season.

The Canadian Press

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