Tropical Storm Patricia approaches Mexico

(AP) -- Officials closed schools and readied emergency shelters as Tropical Storm Patricia neared Mexico's Los Cabos resorts on Tuesday.

The storm had winds of near 60 mph (95 kph) and slight strengthening was possible, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, though it was not expected to reach force of 74 mph (118 kph).

The storm was located about 120 miles (190 kilometers) south-southeast of the tourist-heavy tip of the Baja peninsula and it was moving toward the north at near 7 mph (11 kph).

In Caso San Lucas, tourists awoke to cloudy skies and intermittent rain Tuesday as hotel workers began putting away beach furniture and shutting down all open-air activities.

"The beach is empty and there is little activity at our pool area because tourists are staying in their rooms," said Casa Dorada Hotel general manager Victor Gomez. "Unfortunately for the tourist, the entertainment options have been limited but we hope to be back to normal by tomorrow or Thursday."

Cabo San Lucas Civil Protection Director Franciso Cota said authorities are ready to evacuate people living in areas at risk of flooding.

Baja California Sur's state government announced that all schools at all levels were closed on Tuesday and it said officials were preparing 159 shelters in case of evacuations.

Mexico's government declared a tropical warning for the southern portion of the desert peninsula, including Cabo San Lucas.

Forecasters said it could dump 1 to 3 inches (25 to 75 millimeters) of rain on the region.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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