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Mexico's Pacific coast hit by hurricane
by Staff Writers
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 kilometers (80 miles) per hour had 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 hardest hit by the storm, with heavy rain recorded in Tomatlan, Cabo Corrientes, La Huerta and Puerto Vallarta, one of Mexico's biggest tourist destinations.

Local authorities urged caution when driving through Jalisco's mountainous interior roads due to the risk of landslides.

Hundreds of shelters set up along the state'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 the resort city of 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.

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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US tornado toll hits 155 in Joplin
Chicago (AFP) June 20, 2011 - The toll from the deadliest single tornado to strike the United States in six decades rose to 155 after two more people died of their injuries, officials in Joplin, Missouri said Monday.

That brings the year's total to 541 tornado fatalities, making 2011 the deadliest tornado season since 1936 and the fourth worst on record, according to the national weather service.

Two bad days accounted for nearly all the deaths: an outbreak of dozens of tornadoes that killed 314 people in five states on April 27 and the massive twister that struck Joplin on May 22.

The nearly mile-wide twister packing winds of more than 200 miles per hour cut a six-mile (nearly 10 kilometer) swath of destruction through the town of 50,000 people.

Officials predict it will cost billions to repair the physical damage caused by the deadly twisters and months for life to return to normal.

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Beatriz nears hurricane strength off Mexico
Washington (AFP) June 20, 2011
Tropical Storm Beatriz strengthened Monday in the Pacific off the south-central Mexican coast as US forecasters warned the system could grow to hurricane strength later Monday. The storm was 210 miles (335 kilometers) south-southeast of the busy port of Manzanillo, packing maximum sustained winds of up to 65 miles (100 kilometers) per hour, said forecasters at the US-based National Hurricane ... read more

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