Hurricane Pamela slammed into Mexico’s Pacific coast as a Category 1 hurricane before losing force and moving inland as a tropical storm, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in the United States reported.
The storm regained hurricane strength just before it hit the coast of the Mexican state of Sinaloa on Wednesday morning, north of the beach resort and fishing port of Mazatlan, the NHC said.
The NHC’s latest advisory at 18:00 GMT placed Pamela about 270km (170 miles) northeast of Mazatlan as the tropical storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 75km/h (45 mph).
At landfall, Pamela brought maximum winds of about 120km/h (75 mph) but was expected to quickly weaken as it moved inland. Earlier forecasts had projected a stronger storm.
Civil defence officials in Sinaloa said Pamela’s wind and rains did minor damage, while the remnants of the storm are expected to approach the US state of Texas by Thursday.
The NHC, based in Miami, Florida, had warned of the possibility of life-threatening storm surges, flash floods and dangerous winds around the impact area.
Authorities called on residents of rural areas to move to shelters due to the risk of flooding.
The storm was expected to drench Sinaloa, which is the country’s top grower of corn, Mexico’s staple grain, as well as a major producer of tomatoes and other fruits that figure prominently in the country’s agricultural exports to the US.
Rainfall of between 10 and 30 centimetres (four and 12 inches) was expected to hit both Sinaloa and the neighbouring state of Durango.
“This rainfall may trigger significant and life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides,” the NHC added.
Last year, Sinaloa alone produced more than 380,000 tonnes of tomatoes, or nearly a fifth of Mexico’s national output and overwhelmingly destined for export, according to government data.
Because of its location, Mexico is often hit by tropical storms and hurricanes on both its Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
In August, Hurricane Nora made landfall in the Pacific state of Jalisco, killing a child and leaving one person missing. Hurricane Grace left at least 11 dead on the eastern coast of Mexico’s mainland the same month.
In September, Hurricane Olaf made landfall on the Baja California Peninsula, causing minor damage.