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Hurricane Newton rushes towards Mexican peninsula

Forecasters have warned that 'preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion' in the Baja California peninsula. The satellite image taken on September 5 shows Tropical Storm Newton off the western coast of Mexico. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Mexico City, Mexico Sep 06, 2016, 01.33 AM (IST)
After causing damage in the Mexican state of Guerrero over the weekend, Tropical Storm Newton grew into a hurricane on Monday as it hurled toward Mexico's popular northwest resorts of Los Cabos at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula where it is expected to make a landfall on Tuesday, US forecasters said.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that "preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion" in parts of the Baja California peninsula. The hurricane was expected to pick up more steam before making landfall.

"Winds are expected to first reach tropical storm strength by late tonight, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous," the NHC said in a 2100 GMT bulletin.

The storm is expected to produce as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain in several Pacific coast states, which could trigger life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, the center said, adding that a "dangerous" storm surge was expected to cause significant coastal flooding."

The Mexican government issued hurricane warnings for the west coast of the state of Baja California Sur as well as Cabo San Lucas in its southern tip, a favoured destination of American tourists.

The Miami-based center said the eye of the storm was located about 215 miles (350 kilometers) southeast of Cabo San Lucas, with top winds of 75 miles per hour. It was moving northwestward at 16 miles per hour.

Los Cabos was pummeled in September 2014 by Hurricane Odile, which left six people dead and millions of dollars in damage.

Damage to southern and coastal Mexico

The weather system already caused damage in the south over the weekend before it became a tropical storm, with heavy rains blamed for three deaths in the southern state of Chiapas. Floods and landslides damaged or affected some 70 homes and schools and trapped around 200 people in Acapulco, the resort in the southwestern state of Guerrero.

Torrential rains that began on Saturday morning caused 33 landslides on highways in Guerrero.

Heavy rainfall trapped around 200 people in their housing complex, prompting air evacuations by police, marines and the army.

Hermine threat reduces in USA

The United States, meanwhile, was spared the worst when Tropical Storm Hermine crashed ashore in Florida, a hurricane at the time, before moving out to sea. Hermine killed two people after striking Florida on Friday before weakening to a tropical storm as it moved north off the US East Coast.

Located some 175 miles southeast of the eastern tip of New York's Long Island, Hermine packed sustained winds of 70 miles per hour but it was expected to weaken late on Tuesday. The NHC earlier said it would remain near hurricane strength.

The hurricane center warned that the post-tropical cyclone would cause a storm surge and tide that could flood normally dry areas in the northeastern United States.

Tropical storm warnings were issued in Long Island as well as parts of the northeastern states of Connecticut and Massachusetts.

It was Florida's first hurricane landfall since 2005, causing street flooding and power outages.

(WION with inputs from AFP)

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