Hurricane Kenna strengthens, soaking Mexico's coast

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Originally published
Los Cabos, Mexico (dpa) - Hurricane Kenna continued to strengthen Thursday and was churning steadily towards Mexico's southwestern Pacific coast and the Baja California peninsula where a major international meeting was taking place.

Described by the Mexican weather service as an ''extremely dangerous hurricane'' Kenna had reached sustained winds of 240 kilometres per hour and gusts of 285 kilometres per hour by early afternoon.

Kenna, a category 4 hurricane in the Saffir-Simpson scale, was located 475 kilometres southwest of Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco state. It was shifting northwards at 15 kilometres per hour, according to the Mexican weather service.

The hurricane was unleashing heavy rains in the states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco strong winds and ocean surges were pounding Nayarit, Sinaloa and Baja California Sur.

There was concern at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum ministerial meeting at the Los Cabos resort on the southernmost tip of Baja California.

About 20 heads of state were expected to gather Saturday for a weekend summit.

A hurricane alert was in effect on the Mexican mainland from Mazatlan southward to La Fortuna.

Further southward on the coast a tropical storm alert was in place till Manzanillo. Citizens were told to take precautions for the onset of heavy rains, the risk of landslides in higher ground and flooding in low-lying areas.

Authorities warned boats to stay docked because of high waves, winds and heavy rains. Forecasters were predicting Kenna would turn to the north-northeast later Thursday.

dpa am mm

Copyright (c) 2002 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 10/24/2002 15:43:20

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