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Carlotta, the third named storm of the eastern Pacific hurricane season, intensified into a hurricane roughly 330 miles southeast of Acapulco, Mexico.
Carlotta is moving toward the northwest, and will continue to approach the Mexican coast through Saturday morning. Hurricane warnings and hurricane watches have been posted. The western end of the hurricane warning now includes Acapulco.
Carlotta is undergoing rapid intensification and reached Category two status Friday afternoon. Some additional strengthening is possible before Carlotta starts to interact with the mountainous terrain of Mexico. Storm surge flooding, high surf, rip currents and high winds will be significant threats as the center of Carlotta approaches and hugs the coast.
That said, the most grave concern is Carlotta's expectation of slowing, then stalling near the Mexican coast, possibly for several days beginning later Saturday, continuing into possibly the middle of next week. Assuming the circulation of Carlotta can remain intact as it hovers, several days of torrential rainfall is likely to trigger life-threatening flooding and mudslides!
Rainfall totals of over a foot are possible in some areas of southern Mexico, with heavy rainfall possibly extending as far east as southern Guatemala. In particular, the flood and mudslide danger appears particularly high in the mountains of the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, potentially including the hills and mountains around Acapulco. Similar past events in Mexico have produced destructive and deadly mudslides, given the mountainous terrain in the region.
If you have travel plans or interests in Acapulco, monitor closely the progress of Carlotta. Keep in mind that significant, dangerous rainfall-related impacts may occur well after any landfall that may occur.
Hurricane Carlotta pummels Mexico, 2 dead
June 16, 2012 At least two children are dead after Hurricane Carlotta slammed southern Mexico, unleashing fierce winds and dumping intense rains over Oaxaca state.
The Category 1 hurricane destroyed a clay house Friday night in Pluma Hidalgo, killing a 13-year-old girl and her 7-year-old sister,
said Cynthia Tobar, a spokeswoman for Mexico's civil protection agency.
The girls' mother was seriously injured and taken to a hospital in the city of Huatulco, Tobar said.
According to preliminary reports, Carlotta ripped off the roofs of homes and caused widespread power outages and small landslides, Tobar said. Authorities will survey the area once daylight comes and and the weather conditions are favorable.
In the mountain community of Pluma Hidalgo, about 1,200 people are in shelters, Tobar said. Many more evacuated to stay with relatives or friends, she said.
Carlotta made landfall Friday night near Puerto Escondido, on Mexico's southern Pacific coast, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
By 2 a.m. (5 a.m. ET) Saturday, Carlotta's maximum sustained winds had weakened to 75 mph (120 kph), the weather agency said. The hurricane is expected to weaken to a tropical storm later Saturday morning and dissipate to a depression by Saturday night.
Carlotta now Cat 2 hurricane; on track for Acapulco
Winds now at 105 mph; up to 15 inches of rain could trigger floods, mudslides