MAZATLAN, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Orlene swept toward landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast near the tourist town of Mazatlan on Monday.
Orlene lost some strength after roaring over the Islas Maria, a former prison colony being developed as a tourist draw. The main island is sparsely populated, mainly by government employees, and most buildings there are made of brick or concrete.
The hurricane’s winds slipped back to 100 mph (155 kph) early Monday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Authorities along the coast suspended classes, closed seaports and set up shelters, and rain was falling in Mazatlan.
By Monday morning, Orlene was centered about 45 miles (75 kilometers) south-southeast of Mazatlan and was headed north at 9 mph (15 kph).
A hurricane warning was in effect from San Blas to Mazatlan.
The government of Jalisco state, where Puerto Vallarta is located, suspended classes Monday in towns and cities along the coast.
In Sinaloa, where Mazatlan is located, some emergency shelters were opened.
The center said the storm would likely begin weakening as its moved closer to land. But it was still projected to hit as a hurricane.
It could bring flood-inducing rainfall of up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) in some places, as well as coastal flooding and dangerous surf.
The ports of Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta were closed to ships and Mexico’s navy announced that ports including Mazatlan, San Blas and Nuevo Vallarta were closed to small craft.
Mexico’s National Water Commission said Orlene could cause “mudslides, rising river and stream levels, and flooding in low-lying areas.”
The hurricane center said hurricane-force winds extended out about 15 miles (30 kilometers) from the center and tropical storm-force winds out to 70 miles (110 kilometers).
The storm peaked early Sunday at Category 4 force with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 kph).