A hurricane described as “extremely dangerous” has made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Hurricane Lidia hit Mexico as a Category 4 storm, bringing wind speeds of up to 140mph (220km/h).
But the storm has weakened after moving inland, with the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgrading it to Category 2 status.
Authorities in the state of Nayarit said a man was killed when a tree fell on the van he was driving.
Lidia made landfall by the small beach town of Las Penitas just before 18:00 local time (00:00 GMT).
It hit as a Category 4 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which goes up to five.
By 21:00 (03:00 GMT), the NHC said Lidia was blowing maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 km/h) as it passed near the inland town of Mascota in Jalisco state.
The centre said Lidia was moving east-northeast at 17 mph (28 km/h) and should weaken quickly as it moves over elevated terrain in west-central Mexico.
“Life-threatening hurricane-force winds are expected along the path of the storm overnight,” the NHC added, warning of dangerous water levels, flash flooding and swells on the Pacific coast.
Ahead of the storm, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that 6,000 members of the armed forces had been deployed to help residents.
“I urge people living between Nayarit and Jalisco, especially in Bahia de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta and Tomatlan, to take precautions,” he said on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, recommending people stay away from low-lying areas, rivers and slopes.
In the seaside resort of Puerto Vallarta, residents took shelter from the storm, with shopkeepers boarding up windows and piling up sandbags in case of flooding.
Earlier, the city’s airport announced it was closing from 16:00 local time (22:00 GMT) until 08:00 on Wednesday.
Parts of Mexico’s Pacific coastline have already seen significant flooding this week after Tropical Storm Max hit. Local media reports that two people died as a result of the storm in the state of Guerrero.
Hurricanes hit Mexico every year on both its Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The country’s official hurricane season runs from May to November, with most storms developing between July and October.
The impact of climate change on the frequency of storms is still unclear, but scientists say that increased sea surface temperatures warm the air above and make more energy available to drive hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons.
As a result, they are likely to be more intense with more extreme rainfall.
The world has already warmed by about 1.1C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.
Source : BBC