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Planet Ark World Environment News Storms Hover Off Mexico, Two Oil Ports Shut

Date: 06-Oct-03
Country: MEXICO

In the Pacific, hurricane Nora was grinding some 400 miles south-southeast of the popular tourist resort Cabo San Lucas, in Baja California, while another tropical storm, Olaf, hovered off Acapulco.

Neither Nora nor Olaf was expected to make landfall soon.

On the Gulf coast, authorities set up evacuation shelters and readied relief supplies in coastal states as Larry churned south, expected to hit land by Sunday, according to forecasters.

The storm's center was located 55 miles north of the industrial complex of Coatzacoalcos, home to the crude oil shipping port Pajaritos, on the weekend evening and was moving at three mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Larry, the 12th storm of an active Atlantic hurricane season, formed on Wednesday and has since drifted toward the Mexican coast, bringing with it battering waves, storm-surge flooding and intense rains.

"These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," forecasters said. The storm was packing maximum sustained winds near 60 mph with higher gusts, the center said.

The oil export ports of Dos Bocas in Tabasco state and Pajaritos in the Coatzacoalcos complex in Veracruz remained shut, while Cayo Arcas in Campeche reopened on the weekend afternoon after closing on Thursday.

A spokeswoman at the state oil monopoly, Pemex, said last week crude exports could be delayed if the ports were still closed by Sunday. Another Pemex official said the company was using reserves stored in a large oil tanker offshore to make sure exports were not disrupted.

Mexico is the world's eighth-largest oil exporter and a key source of oil for the United States.

On the Pacific Coast, hurricane Nora strengthened to a category two storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale and was moving west-northwest at seven mph.

Lower down in the Pacific, Olaf brought clouds and moderate to strong rains to the Acapulco resort. The storm was hovering about 150 miles south-southeast of the city.

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