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Mexico on high alert for Hurricane Jova
by Staff Writers
Mexico City (AFP) Oct 10, 2011

Mexican authorities have placed four southern coastal states on high alert ahead of Tuesday's expected arrival of Jova, a major hurricane barreling in from the Pacific.

The Miami-based US National Hurricane Center said in a 1500 GMT bulletin that Jova was now packing maximum sustained winds of 125 miles (205 kilometers) per hour.

It has strengthened to a category three storm on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale and was forecast to become a category four before weakening as it makes landfall on Tuesday.

Mexican authorities issued hurricane alerts for large swaths of the Pacific coastline, with the system some 250 miles (400 kilometers) from the busy port city of Manzanillo, in Colima state.

The zone stretched north from the port of Lazaro Cardenas in Michoacan for almost 300 miles (480 kilometers), encompassing the popular tourist cape of Cabo Corrientes in Jalisco, Mexico's meteorological institute said.

Colima, Jalisco, Michoachan and Nayarit state to the north were all put on guard for possible landslides from heavy rain expected to be dumped by the ninth Pacific hurricane of the season.

"A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding near and to the east of where the center makes landfall," the NHC warned in its latest bulletin.

The surge, said the hurricane center, "will be accompanied by large and destructive waves" as well as torrential rainfall with accumulations of up to 15 inches (38 centimeters) in some areas.

Several major storms or hurricanes have buffeted Mexico's Pacific coast in recent months but most have remained offshore.

The season's first named storm, Arlene, left at least 16 people dead and drenched much of the country in July.

Tropical storms and hurricanes last year caused flooding and mudslides in Mexico that killed 125 people, left hundreds of thousands homeless and caused more than $4 billion in damage.

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