MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Norma strengthened to a major storm Thursday as it spun off Mexico’s Pacific coast on a path expected to bring it near Los Cabos at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that Norma had 125 mph (205 kph) maximum sustained winds and was located about 395 miles (630 kilometers) south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas. The Category 3 storm was moving north at 6 mph (9 kph).
A hurricane warning was issued for the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, but even a minor deviation from the forecast track would take a weakened Norma toward the mainland of Mexico’s western Pacific coast.
The Pacific coast port of Manzanillo was closed to small craft as a precaution.
Norma was expected to begin weakening Friday and into the weekend as it neared land. It remained unclear if it would make landfall near Los Cabos, made up of the twin resorts of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, or veer off beforehand and hit Mexico’s Sinaloa state to the east.
Hurricane specialist John Cangialosi, with the U.S. National Hurricane Center, said that Norma’s forecast was challenging. The storm was expected to continue moving north into Saturday, but then slow to a crawl “and should be just kind of hanging out near the southern portion of the Baja California Peninsula.”
The concerns, especially if the storm slowed rather than passing quickly, were significant winds and heavy rain, he said.
In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Tammy was 200 miles (320 kilometers) east of the Caribbean island of Barbados and moving west-northwest at 13 mph (20 kph). Tammy had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). A hurricane watch was in effect for Guadeloupe, a French overseas department, where the storm is expected to hit around Saturday.
Tammy was forecast to strengthen gradually as it moved toward the Leeward Islands this weekend and could reach hurricane strength by Saturday as it passes Barbuda and St. Martin.
Hurricane watches were also in effect for the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis.