Mexico on alert as hurricane Bud gathers force
Bud, the first eastern Pacific hurricane of the 2012 season, has strengthened to a category 2 storm.
Thu, May 24, 2012 at 06:58 PM
HURRICANES: NOAA issued its Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook, predicting that a "near-normal season is most likely." (Photo: AFP)
Mexican authorities were on alert Thursday as the first eastern Pacific hurricane of the 2012 season, named Bud, strengthened to a category two storm.
U.S. monitors issued a hurricane warning for Mexico's coast, from Manzanillo northwestward to Cabo Corrientes, indicating that the storm was expected to impact on land in the next 36 hours.
"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion," the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said, updating the tempest to a category two storm on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale.
Hurricane Bud was roiling the sea 225 miles southwest of Manzanillo, which is in Colima state, packing maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour, the NHC said.
"We are on alert, we are preparing some 120 shelters in the coastal towns," Melchor Urusua, head of Colima's civilian protection agency, told AFP.
The storm was barreling northeast at 9 miles per hour and was not expected to approach the Mexican coast until late Friday, at which point it was expected to weaken slightly.
Storm swells causing "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions" were expected along portions of the southern and southwestern coast of Mexico later on Thursday, along with flash floods and mudslides, the NHC said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a U.S. federal agency, meanwhile issued its Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook, predicting that a "near-normal season is most likely."
"The outlook calls for a 50 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 25 percent chance of an above normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season," it said.
The Atlantic hurricane region includes the northern Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.
"This outlook reflects the possibility of competing climate factors, combined with several circulation and sea surface temperature features that suggest a less active season compared to many in recent years," NOAA added.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition