News24

Storm Carlotta near hurricane strength

2012-06-15 20:14

Miami - Tropical Storm Carlotta barrelled toward Mexico's Pacific coast on Friday as forecasters predicted it would soon become a hurricane and warned residents to beware a powerful storm surge.

The Miami-based US National Hurricane Centre warned that Carlotta was "almost a hurricane" and would likely be upgraded in the coming hours.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Mexico's Pacific coast from Salina Cruz to Punta Maldonado. The hurricane watch area stretched up to the resort town of Acapulco.

"Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area by tonight, with tropical storm conditions expected by this afternoon," the US National Hurricane Centre said in a bulletin.

"A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding to the north and east of the centre. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves."

US meteorologists predicted total rainfall of 7.5 to 12.5cm in the Mexican states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas, warning of the risk of flash floods and mudslides.

Isolated areas could see up to 30cm of rain, it said.

At about midday, the eye of the storm was located about 255km southeast of Puerto Angel, Mexico. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 110km an hour and moving at a speed of 17km an hour.

On Thursday, authorities in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua put residents on alert for possible damaging rains and winds.

The National Co-ordination for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala urged "extreme caution for fishermen from rising waves" and warned of landslides, mudslides and flash floods.