MEXICO CITY: Hurricane Roslyn strengthened to a major Category 4 storm on Saturday as it approached Mexico's Pacific coast, the US National Hurricane Center said, warning of potentially damaging winds, dangerous storm surge and flash flooding.
The storm was some 155 miles (225 kilometers) west-southwest of Manzanillo, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, and was moving north-northwest at about eight miles per hour.
It is forecast to slam into the coast of Nayarit state on Sunday at or near major hurricane strength, the NHC said in its 1500 GMT update.
“Additional strengthening is forecast today. Although some weakening is possible beginning tonight, Roslyn is expected to still be near or at major hurricane strength when it makes landfall on Sunday,“ the NHC said.
“On the forecast track, the center of Roslyn will move parallel to the southwestern coast of Mexico through midday today, then approach the coast of west-central Mexico, likely making landfall along the coast of the Mexican state of Nayarit Sunday morning.”
Both the NHC and the Meteorological Service of Mexico warned of flash flooding and landslides caused by the storm.
“A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding near and to the east of where the center makes landfall,“ the NHC said.
Authorities have declared a precautionary alert in the Pacific coast states of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit and Sinaloa.
Victor Hugo Roldan, director of civil protection in Jalisco state, told reporters in Guadalajara that 270 people had been evacuated from the town of La Huerta, close to the hurricane's expected path.
Most of them went to relatives' homes, while 33 went to shelters, he said.
Jalisco, which is slated to get up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain in some spots, has set up shelters in the cities of Cabo Corrientes, La Huerta and the tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta. The other coastal states were also preparing shelters.
Forecasts suggest Roslyn could make landfall near San Blas, a town of about 40,000 with several fishing communities.
Tropical cyclones hit Mexico every year on both its Pacific and Atlantic coasts, usually between May and November.
At the end of May, Agatha, the first Pacific storm of the season, hit the coast of the state of Oaxaca (south), where heavy rain in mountainous towns killed 11 people.
Back in October 1997, Hurricane Pauline struck Mexico's Pacific coast as a Category 4 storm, leaving more than 200 dead. - AFP