Sun, May 27, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Tropical storm Bud lashes Mexico

AFP, PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO

Tourists look at the sea on Friday as rain caused by tropical storm Bud falls in the town of Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico.

Photo: Reuters

Tropical Storm Bud lashed the west coast of Mexico late on Friday, but this year’s first serious eastern Pacific storm was rapidly losing strength, giving Mexican emergency officials some respite.

However, a new storm named Beryl has formed in the Atlantic, threatening to disrupt the plans of thousands of US beachgoers taking advantage of the long Memorial Day weekend.

Mexican authorities breathed a sigh of relief as Bud displayed weaker wind gusts and lower swells than expected.

Overnight, the storm moved about 155km west-northwest of the port city of Manzanillo, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC). It was creeping northward at 11kph, packing maximum sustained winds of 95kph.

“Additional rapid weakening is forecast,” the NHC said. “And Bud [was] expected to weaken to a tropical depression[yesterday].”

The weakening notwithstanding, emergency officials had alerted residents and prepared shelters as Bud — which briefly intensified to a Category 3 storm on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale — made its approach.

“We are on alert, we are preparing some 120 shelters in the coastal towns,” Colima civil protection chief Melchor Urusua said.

The Mexican government discontinued a hurricane warning along the central Pacific coastline from Manzanillo to Cabo Corrientes, downgrading it to a tropical storm warning.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for the coast from north of Cabo Corrientes to San Blas.

The eye of the storm was expected to move near land overnight from Friday to yesterday before taking a gradual turn toward the southwest away from the coast today, according to the NHC.

Tropical storm conditions were already affecting part of the coastline.

Bud is expected to drop up to 25cm of rain in the Mexican coastal states of Michoacan, Colima, Jalisco and southern Nayarit, with up to 38cm in isolated areas.

This rainfall could produce “life-threatening” flash floods and mudslides, the NHC said.

Mexican authorities have formed a task force in Jalisco, which includes 31 all-terrain vehicles and two helicopters to deal with emergency situations as well as deliver water and emergency food supplies to towns and villages that might be cut off by flooding

“A storm surge is expected to produce coastal flooding,” the NHC warned. “The surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves.” The center also said that swells generated by Bud could also produce dangerous, even “life-threatening” surf and rip current conditions.

However, as Mexico appeared to have dodged the bullet, a new subtropical storm named Beryl formed in the Atlantic off the coast of South Carolina. Beryl, which was located 490km east of Charleston, South Carolina, was moving north at 15kph, the Miami-based center said.

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