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Hurricane Lidia strengthens on course for Mexico

Shopkeepers in Mexico's beachside city of Puerto Vallarta board up windows as Hurricane Lidia approaches
Shopkeepers in Mexico's beachside city of Puerto Vallarta board up windows as Hurricane Lidia approaches.

Hurricane Lidia gained strength Tuesday as it headed toward Mexico's Pacific coast, threatening to bring flooding and mudslides to a region that is home to a string of beach resorts, forecasters said.

In the seaside city of Puerto Vallarta—a popular destination for Mexican and foreign visitors—shopkeepers boarded up windows and laid sandbags in case of flooding.

School classes were suspended in some areas and residents were urged to take precautions, such as moving to temporary shelters and staying away from the sea.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said civil protection personnel were on alert and around 6,000 members of the armed forces had been deployed to help residents.

Lidia was packing maximum sustained winds of around 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

It intensified to a Category 2 hurricane—the second lowest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale—and was expected to strengthen further, the NHC predicted.

Dangerous winds and were expected to begin on Tuesday afternoon, it warned.

Lidia was located about 195 miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco state, and on course to make landfall late Tuesday or overnight, the report said.

It was expected to bring rainfall of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) to Nayarit, Sinaloa and Jalisco states, according to the NHC.

"These rains will likely produce flash and urban flooding, along with possible mudslides in areas of higher terrain near the ," it warned.

"A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding near and to the south of where the center makes landfall. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves," it added.

Hurricanes hit Mexico every year on both its Pacific and Atlantic coasts, usually between May and November.

In August, Tropical Storm Hilary, which at one point was a Category 4 , caused one death and damaged infrastructure as it hit the northwestern state of Baja California.

© 2023 AFP

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