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Hurricane Nora nears Mexico

Southwestern U.S. set for heavy rain

Latest developments: September 24, 1997
Web posted at: 8:04 p.m. EDT (2004 GMT)

BAJA CALIFORNIA, Mexico (CNN) -- Slowing but still a threat, Hurricane Nora spun toward the middle of Mexico's Baja California peninsula on Wednesday, lashing the coastline with heavy rain and strong winds. There was a potential for flooding in portions of the southwestern United States unaccustomed to such weather.

The National Hurricane Center said Nora, on its present northward track, would continue to weaken as it crossed the peninsula Thursday and entered the Gulf of California before heading northward toward Arizona.

Hurricane Nora
Time5 p.m. PDT
LocationAbout 140 miles (225 km) S of Punta Eugenia, on the West coast of Baja California
Lat./Lon.25.7 N latitude, 114.8 W longitude
Windsnear 85 mph (140 kph) with higher gusts
SpeedNorth near 15 mph (24 kph)
Current radar image                 Current satellite image

A L S O :

Nora's projected 24 hour path

Why deserts and heavy rain don't mix

Forecasters said it was possible Nora would be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit land or shortly afterward, but heavy rain remained a threat for coastal and inland areas.

Flood potential in Yuma, Arizona

sandbagging in Yuma

"We're going to get a lot of flooding and probably some wind damage," said Yuma's Emergency Management Director Cristina Herrera. Average rainfall there is 2 and 1/2 inches a year.

Yuma, which is 70 miles north of the Gulf of California, could get more than 5 inches of rain from Nora, forecasters said.

In preparation for possible flooding, Herrera said residents in the city of 55,000 were filling thousands of sandbags.

California, too, may be at risk. The state, which was threatened earlier this month by Hurricane Linda, has never been hit by a hurricane.

Mexico on alert

Hurricane-force winds from Nora extended outward up to 85 miles from the eye, and tropical storm-force winds extended up to 200 miles.

Mexican authorities declared a hurricane warning for the upper half of the peninsula and a coastal flood warning for much of the northern mainland.

Early Wednesday, while its center was well at sea, the hurricane veered past the base of the peninsula. Still, the outer reaches were strong enough to batter Cabo San Lucas and other tourist towns.

CNN affiliate KTVK in Yuma contributed to this report.


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