by Staff Writers
Acapulco, Mexico (AFP) June 21, 2011
Hurricane Beatriz killed three people in Acapulco on Tuesday and wreaked havoc at the start of Mexico's busy summer tourist season before weakening to a tropical storm.
The second Pacific hurricane of 2011 brought high winds and heavy rains to beach resorts from Zihuatanejo to Cabo Corrientes, forcing thousands of tourists to hole up in their hotels as it uprooted trees and flooded roads.
In Acapulco, the main port on Mexico's Pacific coast and a popular tourist spot, three members of the same family drowned after falling into a septic tank while trying to rescue two women, public safety officials said.
Another person was reported missing and dozens of homes were seriously damaged. "Undoubtedly, Acapulco was the hardest hit," said Guerrero state public safety spokesman Ramon Almonte.
Top winds of 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour died down by Tuesday afternoon to 95 kilometers (60 miles) per hour and Beatriz was forecast to track into the Pacific and fizzle out on Wednesday.
"There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect," the US National Hurricane Center in Miami reported.
The western state of Jalisco was also hit hard by the storm, with heavy rain recorded in Tomatlan, Cabo Corrientes, La Huerta and Puerto Vallarta, another of Mexico's biggest tourist destinations.
Red flags dotted the beaches to keep swimmers out of the high seas and local authorities urged caution when driving through mountainous interior roads due to the risk of landslides.
Hundreds of shelters set up along Jalisco's 300 kilometers (200 miles) of coastline were not ultimately used, emergency officials said.
Neighborhoods near the coast in Huatulco, in Oaxaca state, as well as in Acapulco reported flooding.
High waves swept a car in Acapulco out to sea, but both occupants of the vehicle managed to escape unharmed, according to local television reports.
In Colima state, fishing was temporarily banned and seaside areas were placed under alert.
The 2011 storm season is expected to be worse than usual, US experts have said. Adrian, the first Pacific hurricane of the 2011 season, was downgraded to a tropical storm over a week ago and never made landfall.
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Mexico's Pacific coast hit by hurricane
Guadalajara, Mexico (AFP) June 21, 2011
Hurricane Beatriz disrupted the start of the summer tourist season on Mexico's Pacific coast, uprooting trees and flooding roads before weakening Tuesday to a tropical storm. The second Pacific hurricane of the season brought high winds and heavy rains to beach resorts from Zihuatanejo to Cabo Corrientes, messing up early summer vacation plans for thousands of tourists. Top winds of 130 ... read more
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