Hurricane Blanca weakens as it closes in on Mexico's Pacific coast

MEXICO CITY - Hurricane Blanca weakened slightly to a category 3 storm on Saturday as it churned toward Mexico's Baja California peninsula, according to the latest update form the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

MEXICO  CITY - Hurricane Blanca weakened slightly to a category 3 storm on Saturday as it churned toward  Mexico 's  Baja California peninsula , according to the latest update form the  U.S. National Hurricane Center  (NHC). Blanca, the second hurricane to form off  Mexico 's Pacific coast this year, is located about 320 miles south of the tourist hub of Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the peninsula.

The hurricane, which was rated a category 4 storm earlier in the day, features maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour, and is expected to make landfall early Monday morning near the lightly-populated area of San Carlos, a small fishing village.

Blanca will likely be downgraded further to tropical storm status on Saturday night or Sunday when it reaches the  west coast  of the southern  Baja California peninsula , the NHC said.

second U.S. Air Force  reconnaissance plane was sent Saturday morning to evaluate the storm, which is expected to turn toward the north-northwest later in the day.

Luis Felipe Puente , the national head of emergency services, told reporters that major Pacific coast ports including  Manzanillo  and  Puerto Vallarta  have already been closed to smaller ships as a precaution.


He added that 18,000 tourists are currently vacationing in and around the Cabo San Lucas resort, nearly three-quarters of whom are foreigners and may require help leaving the area.

Blanca could produce rainfall of between 6 to 10 inches over much of Baja California, including the possibility of "life threatening  flash  floods and mudslides," the NHC added.

Last September, Hurricane Odile battered southern Baja California, wreaking havoc on Cabo San Lucas and stranding thousands of tourists.

What To Read Next
Get Local