Raymond weakens to tropical storm, moves out to sea

Oct 23, 2013, 11:24 PM EDT
Mexico Tropical Weather
AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Tropical Storm Raymond moved away from Mexico's Pacific coast Wednesday, granting relief to a region devastated by a storm last month.

At its peak, Raymond was a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph (205 kph) that threatened to collide with the Mexican coast. But it spun in place offshore for more than a day before heading out to sea, largely sparing the already sodden region.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Raymond's maximum sustained winds decreased to near 45 mph (75 kph) by Wednesday night. It was centered about 300 miles (485 kilometers) south of the port city of Manzanillo and was moving west-southwest at 9 mph (15 kph).

On its current track it will continue to move away from Mexico, but could gain some strength in the coming days, the center said.

While Raymond failed to produce the sort of torrential rains inflicted by Tropical Storm Manuel last month, authorities took no chances following widespread criticism of their preparations for the earlier storm, which caused more than $1.7 billion in damage and about 120 deaths. Some 10,000 people are still homeless.

Officials in coastal mountain regions said they had evacuated hundreds of people from vulnerable villages Tuesday because of fears of landslides, said Guerrero state's deputy secretary of civil protection, Constantino Gonzalez.

The storm flooded streets in low-lying parts of Acapulco and other areas, and some homes wrecked by Manuel were once again flooded.

In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Lorenzo strengthened far out to sea but posed no threat to land. Lorenzo's maximum sustained winds Wednesday afternoon were over 45 mph (75 kph) with gradual weakening forecast over the next two days. The storm was centered about 975 miles (1,570 kilometers) east of Bermuda and moving east at 5 mph (7 kph).