Hurricane Rick Heads For Landfall on Mexico's Southern Coast

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- A slightly strengthened and compact Hurricane Rick closed in on Mexico's southern Pacific coast, heading toward a predicted landfall late Monday morning amid warnings of potential flash floods in the coastal mountains.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Rick had maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph) late Sunday and was expected to go ashore somewhere on the coast between the resort of Zihuatanejo and the seaport of Lazaro Cardenas. It was centered about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Zihuatanejo and moving north at 6 mph (9 kph).

Forecasters said the storm was relatively compact, with hurricane force winds extending out only 25 miles from the eye, but they said its winds and rain could still cause problems in around the larger resort of Acapulco to the east.

The center warned that Rick could produce flash floods and mudslides in the mountainous terrain on the coast.

"During its passage over land, it will cause intense to torrential rains and possible mudslides and flooding, as well as rising levels in streams and rivers, in the states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco," Mexico's National Water Commission said in a statement.

Authorities in Lazaro Cardenas said they had opened six emergency shelters for people who might want to leave low-lying areas. Zihuatanejo opened a shelter at the municipal auditorium.

The state of Guerrero, where Zihuatanejo and Acapulco are located, said rains and wind had already knocked over some trees and damaged a road.