Hurricane Norma weakens as it approaches Baja California peninsula

Hurricane Norma weakened to a Category 2 storm over the weekend as it approached the south of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula where it was expected to make landfall later in the day, with the expectation of dangerous storm surge.

The centre of Norma was located about 45 kilometres (28 miles) west-southwest of the popular tourist destination of Cabo San Lucas, moving northwards at a speed of 13 kilometres per hour, and packing maximum sustained winds of 155 kilometres per hour, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest report.

Mexican authorities called on residents of the state of Baja California Sur to take precautions and stay in their homes, while shelters were set up.

“Norma is expected to remain a hurricane while it moves over the southern portion of Baja California Sur,” the NHC said, noting nonetheless that further weakening was expected over the weekend.

Local authorities maintained a “prevention zone” between the towns of Todos Santos and Los Barriles, in the state of Baja California Sur.

They also called on tourists and maritime navigation to take extreme precautions.

“Precipitation could come with electric shocks and generate landslides, increased levels of rivers and streams, overflows and floods,” a government meteorological report indicated on Saturday.

Norma had reached Category 4 strength earlier in the week as it moved over the Mexican Pacific.