One dead as season's 1st Pacific storm pounds Mexico

Other News Materials 24 June 2009 06:11 (UTC +04:00)

A fisherman was reported dead, swept away by a wave, as Tropical Storm Andres drenched western Mexico on Tuesday and threatened to become the first hurricane of the eastern Pacific season, Reuters reported.

Andres, packing winds of around 70 mph (113 kph) with higher gusts, was forecast to brush Mexico's Pacific coast later in the day and could reach hurricane strength in the next 12 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

A hurricane warning was in place for the southwestern coast of Mexico from Punta San Telmo up to Cabo Corrientes and residents and businesses in nearby towns and beach resorts should take steps to protect their property, the NHC said.

At 11 p.m. (1800 GMT), Andres was about 55 miles (85 km) south-southwest of the port and beach resort of Manzanillo and moving northeast at 12 mph (19 kph), having picked up speed as it moved closer to shore.

It was forecast to start heading out to sea later in the day, however, and would start weakening on Wednesday, the NHC said.

Heavy rain flooded parts of the beach resort of Acapulco on Monday and a man in his mid-thirties was swept away by a wave as he stood waist-deep in the sea in a nearby town fishing with a line. "He was dragged away," said an emergency services spokesman for the surrounding state of Guerrero.

Schools were suspended in Acapulco, where authorities evacuated 150 families, the port of Lazaro Cardenas was shut, and the NHC warned there could be more coastal flooding and dangerous waves before the storm moves back out to sea.

In separate storms, heavy rains killed five people in the northern Mexican city of Chihuahua near Texas on Sunday, Mexican media said.

There are no oil drilling operations off Mexico's Pacific coast.