Hurricane Norbert nears Mexico's Baja California

Friday, October 10th 2008, 12:04 pm
By: News 9


Associated Press Writer

LA PAZ, Mexico (AP) -- Fishermen pulled in their boats and hotels warned tourists away from beaches Friday as Hurricane Norbert strengthened to a Category 2 storm and bore down on Mexico's southern Baja California Peninsula.

Norbert, with winds of 100 mph (160 kph), was expected to hit land early Saturday along a relatively unpopulated stretch of coastline north of the resort of Cabo San Lucas. A hurricane warning was issued for the west coast of Baja California, from Puerto San Andresito to Agua Blanca. Forecasters said it would weaken somewhat before hitting land.

Under overcast skies, fishermen pulled their boats onto beaches in La Paz, a port town in the peninsula's eastern coast. Yellow flags were up on beaches, warning people to stay out of the water.

Eli and Claudia Tubia, on vacation from Texarkana, Texas, took a cruise Wednesday night despite the coming storm, but their hotel in resort-dotted Cabo San Lucas was already storing outdoor furniture and paintings.

"They kind of cleared out the beach, and the restaurants that they have on the beach, they took all the furnishings away," said Eli Tubia.

Early Friday, Norbert was still 275 miles (445 kilometers) southwest of Baja's southern tip, but moving north at 10 mph (17 kph.)

Meanwhile, southeast of Norbert, a tropical storm warning was issued from Lagunas de Chacahua to Zihuatanejo as Tropical Storm Odile moved parallel to Mexico's southern Pacific coastline. Forecasters said it wasn't expected to hit land directly, but would sweep close to the coast on Saturday and could dump up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain, possibly causing mudslides.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were near 60 mph (95 kph) with strengthening expected. It was centered about 245 miles (395 kilometers) southeast of Acapulco, and was moving northwest at 9 mph (15 kph.)

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)