Mexico Weathers The Storms

Hurricane storm weather tracking magnifying glass
Hurricane Olaf inched northward Monday past resorts on Mexico's Pacific coast, shutting down tourist businesses as authorities prepared emergency shelters.

Hurricane Nora was downgraded to a tropical storm, but forecasters said it was still moving east toward the mouth of the Gulf of California.

Hurricane Olaf was disorganized, with winds just above minimum hurricane force at 75 mph. It was moving slowly north along Mexico's Pacific coast, and was located 100 miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta early Monday.

Both storms were expected to pass close to the tip of the Baja California peninsula, which is still recovering from two other recent hurricanes.

Schools were closed and many people stayed home from work Monday in Puerto Vallarta. A light rain was falling as authorities prepared shelters for possible evacuations.

Puerto Vallarta's waterfront was devastated last October by storm surge from Hurricane Kenna.

"I see some people who are not very worried and others who are taking precautions," said Jacqueline Robinson, a tourist from California. "The city is empty. All the stores are closed."

The official forecast track from the U.S. National Hurricane Center would carry Hurricane Olaf north into the Gulf of California and then inland near Mazatlan.

Tropical Storm Nora, 250 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, had seen its winds trimmed to less than 60 mph.

Almost stationary early Monday, it was expected to move gradually eastward while losing force.

Tropical Storm Larry, meanwhile, hit land at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday and faded to a tropical depression as it crept south over the low-lying state of Tabasco.

"We came out better than we thought we would," said Tabasco state government spokesman Fernandez Straffon.

Tabasco authorities supplied shelter, food and water to 498 people forced from their homes by the storm, but the state had no serious storm-related injuries or deaths to report, Straffon said.

The storm forced Alicia Tejera from her home in Malatinero before dawn Sunday. Tejera, carrying her 2-day-old child, headed for a public shelter.

"I risked going out with my son, and it was worth it," Tejera said. "I didn't know if this storm could cause a lot more damage."

Heavy rains from the storm still could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, the hurricane center warned. It predicted rainfall of up to 12 inches in areas already hard-hit by a heavy monsoon season.

By Luis Lopez