Hurricane Orlene gained strength on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane heading toward Mexico’s Pacific coast, where it is expected to make landfall Monday night, the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
The NHC report released at 09:00 GMT said the hurricane was 170 kilometers southwest of Cabo Corrientes in the state of Jalisco and 250 kilometers south of the Marias Islands.
The epicenter of Hurricane Orlene is expected to pass near or over the Marias Islands Monday morning and hit the coast of mainland Mexico by night, the NHC added.
For its part, Mexico’s National Water Commission estimated Orlene will weaken and make landfall Tuesday as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane.
“Its cloud bands will cause heavy and torrential rains (from 150 to 250 mm) in the areas of Nayarit (which includes the Marias Islands) and Jalisco,” the commission reported. “Its circulation will generate wind gusts of 90 to 110 km/h and waves of 3 to 5 meters high on the coasts of Nayarit and Jalisco.”
Mexican authorities urged people living in risk areas to seek temporary shelter. The Mexican Navy Secretariat, in turn, closed the ports of Nayarit and Jalisco.
Authorities remain vigilant on the development of the hurricane to assess the withdrawal of tourists from Mexican resorts, Víctor Hugo Roldán, director of Jalisco’s civil defense, told local media.
Tropical cyclones hit Mexico on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts each year, usually between May and November.
In October 1997, Hurricane Paulina hit the Pacific coast of Mexico as a Category 4 hurricane, killing more than 200 people.
File photo 2 of 2 shows the coast of the Maria Islands, Mexico — Photo: Portal/Henry Romero
File photo shows the coast of the Maria Islands, Mexico — Photo: Portal/Henry Romero