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Hurricane Carlotta reaches Mexico's Pacific coast

June 16, 2012 07:01

ACAPULCO, Mexico - Hurricane Carlotta made landfall on Mexico's Pacific coast near the southern city of Puerto Escondido late on Friday, unleashing heavy rain and gusts of winds as far as the resort city of Acapulco, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Carlotta, the third named storm of the Pacific hurricane season, had escalated throughout the afternoon into a Category 2 hurricane but weakened into Category 1 storm as it hit coastal mountains in the state of Oaxaca.

As it made landfall at 9 p.m. EDT, it had winds of nearly 90 mph (145 kph) with higher gusts. It was about 10 miles (15 km) northwest of Puerto Escondido and about 190 miles (310 km) southeast of the tourist city of Acapulco.

The Mexican government had issued a hurricane warning from Punta Maldonado to Acapulco, where winds started to pick up on Friday afternoon. State oil company Pemex took preventative measures, but by late morning, the eye of the storm had passed north of its biggest refinery, the 330,000 barrel-per-day Salinas Cruz. The installation was operating normally.

The hurricane's path is far from the Baja California resort of Los Cabos, where the Group of 20 leaders of top economies are convening on Monday and Tuesday. Authorities said they did not expect Carlotta to make much of an impact and that the airport remained open.

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