MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tropical Storm Narda caused heavy rains and some flooding in the resort of Zihuatanejo and other spots along Mexico's Pacific coast Sunday before weakening into a tropical depression as it moved overland and began drenching Puerto Vallarta late in the night.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm was on top of Puerto Vallarta late Sunday, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph). It was moving to the northwest at 21 mph (33 kph) and was predicted to regain tropical storm strength when it moved back over open water Monday and began hugging the coast while moving toward the Gulf of California over the next few days.
Authorities reported flooded roads and rivers in Oaxaca state to the south, where thousands of people were evacuated as a precaution, and in the port of Lazaro Cardenas to the north. The storm also toppled trees and billboards in Acapulco. Local media reported that a 26-year-old man died in Oaxaca while trying to cross a river in San Pedro Mixtepec.
The Hurricane Center said Narda was expected to produce 5 to 10 inches (12.5 to 25 centimeters) of rainfall along the coast from Oaxaca to Nayarit — a stretch that includes Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta — and warned that life-threatening flash floods and mudslides were possible, especially in mountainous terrain.
Jalisco state suspended schools Monday in Puerto Vallarta and nearby flood-prone areas. Guerrero state Gov. Héctor Astudillo urged residents to exercise caution and to move to shelters if they live near rivers.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Lorenzo weakened to Category 3 force in the central Atlantic Ocean after several hours as a Category 5 — which made it the strongest storm ever observed so far north and east in the Atlantic basin. The Hurricane Center said that the storm had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph) during the night.
Lorenzo was moving north-northeast at 10 mph (17 kph) and was centered about 1,195 miles (1,920 kilometers) west-southwest of the Azores, a Portuguese island chain.
Portuguese authorities issued a hurricane watch for the central and western Azores and a tropical storm watch for the eastern Azores. Forecasters said the storm was expected to remain large and powerful as it neared the Azores over the next few days, but added that it now appeared Lorenzo would eventually stall as a tropical storm west of Ireland.
Officials said swells produced by the storm could cause dangerous surf conditions around the North Atlantic basin.