Hurricane Raymond approaches Mexico: Storm upgraded to Category 3, but could miss the coast

Last month the country suffered its worst floods on record when tropical storms Manuel and Ingrid hit

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The Independent US

After a battering by two tropical storms last month, Mexico is braced for the arrival of Hurricane Raymond, which has today been upgraded to a Category 3 storm.

The storm, currently making its way across the Pacific Ocean, had looked set to hit the southern end of the country's Pacific coast, but latest forecasts suggest Mexico may be in for a near miss.

Upgrading the storm, the Miami-based US National Hurricane Centre said the winds were hitting speeds of 120 mph.

But it said the hurricane had stopped moving about 100 nautical miles from Mexico, and was likely to get no closer.

A statement on its website read: "Guidance no longer brings the hurricane inland and if this trend continues the warnings for Mexico could be altered."

Heavy rainfall would continue over south-central Mexico during the next few days, causing life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, it said.

Schools are closed in Guerrero state, where Governor Angel Aguirre urged people to leave areas at high risk of flooding, and Michoacan state's government said all maritime activity and road travel should be avoided.

In mid-September, Mexico suffered its worst floods on record when tropical storms Manuel and Ingrid converged from the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico, killing more than 150 people and causing damage estimated at around $6 billion (£3.7 billion).

Acapulco, where the economy relies heavily on tourism, suffered its worst hotel occupancy rates on record after those storms and is only just beginning to recover.

The flooding, mudslides and displacement of thousands of people caused by the recent storms have heightened the risk of diarrheal illness in Mexico. The country is experiencing its first local transmission of cholera in just over a decade.