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Hurricane Orlene lashes Mexico’s Pacific coast – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

Hurricane Orlene made landfall on Monday on Mexico’s Pacific coast, bringing strong winds, heavy rain and a risk of flooding and landslides, forecasters said.

Orlene came ashore south of the beachside city of Mazatlan in Sinaloa state as a Category One hurricane — the weakest on a scale of five.

At 1500 GMT, the storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour and moving inland toward the northeast, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Boats had been brought ashore in Mazatlan ahead of Orlene’s arrival, and businesses boarded up windows and laid down sandbags in case of flooding.

Orlene had strengthened to a powerful Category 4 hurricane on Sunday in the Pacific, prompting warnings for inhabitants of at-risk areas to take refuge in temporary shelters.

But the storm gradually lost strength as it approached the coast and was expected to quickly lose its hurricane force after making landfall.

“Rapid weakening is expected during the next 12 to 24 hours as Orlene moves inland,” the NHC said.

“Orlene is forecast to weaken to a tropical storm by this afternoon, and dissipate tonight or early Tuesday,” it added.

Tropical cyclones hit Mexico every year on both its Pacific and Atlantic coasts, usually between May and November.

In October 1997, Hurricane Paulina hit Mexico’s Pacific coast as a Category 4 storm, leaving more than 200 dead.

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