Norma weakens as it heads for Mexican resort

A satellite image shows Hurricane Max (right) and Norma on Sept 14, 2017.
A satellite image shows Hurricane Max (right) and Norma on Sept 14, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Norma weakened to tropical storm strength Saturday (Sept 16) as it moved in the direction of Mexico's Baja California coastline in the Pacific, the US National Hurricane Centre.

The storm, which had grown to hurricane strength before tapering off, was expected to weaken further over the next two days on a track that will put it near the southern Baja California peninsula Sunday and Monday.

As of 8pm Saturday (8am Sunday Singapore time), the storm was some 335km south of Los Cabos, packing maximum sustained winds of 100kmh and pushing north at 6km an hour.

Los Cabos is a popular resort area.

It triggered tropical storm warnings, meaning a tropical storm conditions within 36 hours for parts of the peninsula, as the NHC forecast up to 20 inches of rain in isolated pockets which "may produce life-threatening flash floods".

Another storm, Max, which made landfall on Mexico's Pacific coast as a Category One hurricane on Thursday night but was later downgraded, had largely dissipated as of Saturday.

It had threatened southern parts of the country including the state of Oaxaca which is still struggling to recover after it bore the brunt of the damage from the 8.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Mexico only last Thursday.

Last week, Hurricane Katia battered the Atlantic coast of Mexico and later blew itself out in the center of the country without causing major damage.

At the beginning of September, Tropical Storm Lidia left seven people dead on its stormy passage through the state of Baja California.

Mexico is one of the countries most vulnerable to hurricanes because of its thousands of miles of coastline on both the Atlantic and Pacific and its proximity to the hurricane belt.