Tropical storm Lorena strengthened to make landfall in Jalisco as a Category 1 hurricane early on Thursday, delivering torrential rain, strong winds and large swells to the Pacific coast of western and southern Mexico.
The system was downgraded soon after to a tropical storm but is expected to regain strength and a hurricane watch is now in effect for part of the Baja California peninsula.
The National Meteorological Service (SMN) said Lorena made landfall 13 kilometers to the east-northeast of Playa Pérula, Jalisco, at 4:00am.
The storm brought torrential rain, wind gusts in excess of 110 kilometers per hour and generated three to five-meter swells. The SMN warned that heavy rain could cause landslides and flash flooding.
The United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) said at 1:00pm CDT that Lorena was offshore about 100 kilometers northwest of Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco, and 415 kilometers southeast of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur. Although the center of the storm is moving farther offshore, heavy rains continue along the southwestern coast of Mexico.
The storm is moving toward the northwest at 17 kilometers per hour but a turn to the west-northwest is expected tonight, the NHC said.
Lorena is forecast to regain hurricane strength in the next 24 hours and pass near or just south of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula on Friday night.
A hurricane watch is in effect for the Baja California peninsula between La Paz and Santa Fe, while a tropical storm warning is in effect for Manzanillo, Colima, to Punta Mita, Nayarit, and the Baja peninsula between Los Barriles and Todos Santos.
The NHC said that coastal areas of the states of Michoacán, Colima and Jalisco can expect to receive 13-25 centimeters of rain over the next few days with maximum downpours of as much as 38 cm. The rain could produce life threatening flash floods and landslides.
Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro said on Twitter that Civil Protection services and the navy are attending to people in need but added that there have been no reports of loss of life. The Cuixmala river broke its banks in the municipality of La Huerta and flooded agricultural land, he said.
Baja California Sur Governor Carlos Mendoza Davis said that the state Civil Protection Council will meet in La Paz on Friday to monitor Lorena and advised residents to follow all instructions issued by authorities.
Source: Notimex (sp)