Tropical Storm Nora, strengthening to Mexico’s coast

A rapidly strengthening Tropical Storm Nora is rolling toward a brush at possible hurricane strength along Mexico’s Pacific Coast and the Baja California Peninsula over the weekend. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Nora could bring dangerous flash floods and mudslides through the weekend.

Nora is forecast to reach hurricane force Saturday while nearing the Puerto Vallarta area. It’s then headed toward a close encounter with resorts at the tip of Baja California Peninsula. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the weakened remnants may even bring rains later in the week to the U.S. Southwest, the Great Basin and Central Rockies. The storm’s large wind field and heavy rains mean much of Mexico’s central and northern Pacific Coast is likely to see floods, mudslides and perilous surf even if it misses the very heart of the hurricane. The storm was centered about 270 miles 435 kilometers, south of the port city of Lazaro Cardenas on Thursday night and it was heading to the west-northwest at 12 mph. Nora had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and it was expected to reach hurricane force on Saturday. It was a big system, with tropical storm-force winds extending as far as 205 miles (335 kilometers) from the center. The Hurricane Center said the storm could bring dangerous flash floods and mudslides through the weekend as it runs parallel along the coast, likely coming closest at point below the Puerto Vallarta region on Saturday. It was also kicking up heavy surf.