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Erick becomes hurricane, storm warnings posted for Mexico

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    This NOAA satellite image taken Friday, July 05, 2013 at 02:00 PM EDT shows Tropical Storm Erick off the coast of southwestern Mexico moving west northwest skirting the Baja Peninsula. Clouds over the Intermountain West associated with a cold front will bring scattered rain showers while and area of low pressure further south brings rain to the desert southwest. (AP PHOTO/WEATHER UNDERGROUND)
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MIAMI >>

Erick strengthened to a hurricane off of southern Mexico Saturday, threatening to dump heavy rain as it skirts the country’s Pacific coast.

The presence of the Category 1 hurricane forced the closure of the seaport of Manzanillo, Mexico’s biggest container port.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Erick became a hurricane as its maximum sustained winds grew to around 80 mph.

The hurricane was centered about 90 miles south of Manzanillo and was moving northwest at 9 mph, on a track roughly parallel to the coast for the states of Guerrero, Colima and Jalisco.

A hurricane watch was declared for Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes, and a tropical storm warning was in effect from the resort of Zihuatanejo westward to Cabo Corrientes.

Gabriel Rivas, a meteorologist at the Manzanillo Port Authority, said the port was closed late Friday as a precaution, but no rain or high winds had yet been reported in the area.

In neighboring Jalisco state, civil defense officer Leonel Hernandez said authorities in coastal communities were meeting to plan preparations for the hurricane, but that skies in the Jalisco coastal community of Cihuatlan were still clear.

Forecasters predict a northwest to west-northwest track over the next few days but say the storm should remain offshore. Rain accumulations from 3 to 5 inches are expected. Forecasters warn of flash floods.

Erick is the fifth named storm of the season in five weeks in the eastern Pacific.

Meanwhile, what’s left of Dalila, which had been a hurricane earlier in the week, continues to weaken as it moves into cooler waters.

It’s too early to say if Erick or what’s left of Dalila will have any effect on Hawaii’s weather.

What’s left of former Hurricane Cosme is creating the light winds and warm humid weather for the state. The remnants of the storm moved northeast of Hawaii and has cut off the usual cooling trade winds.

The storm is also sent some small waves to northeast shores.

Winds are expected to be light through the weekend until stronger trade winds return, perhaps on Monday.

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