(Updates storm’s location in second paragraph.)
Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Tropical Storm Rina, the 17th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, may strengthen and pass north of Honduras before approaching Mexican resorts on the Yucatan Peninsula, the National Hurricane Center said.
Rina, about 135 miles (215 kilometers) north-northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Honduras-Nicaragua border, was moving north-northwest at 6 miles per hour, the center said in a website advisory at 8 a.m. Miami time. The system had sustained winds of 40 mph and is forecast to grow into a hurricane, with winds of at least 74 mph, later this week.
Flash floods and mudslides may occur over mountainous terrain in the region, the NHC said. Rina could trigger as much as 5 inches (13 centimeters) of rain in northern Honduras and 3 inches in the Cayman Islands before nearing the Yucatan.
A tropical-storm watch, indicating winds of at least 39 mph are possible within two days, is in place for the coast of Honduras from Punta Castilla to the Nicaraguan border. The center predicted the storm will be near the coastal resorts of Cozumel and Cancun in three to four days.
Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, said Rina won’t be a threat to Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production. In a note to clients, he said the storm may become a hurricane if it stalls in the northwest Caribbean. The system may then either drift north toward Florida or hit Central America, he wrote.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. It is closely watched by the energy industry because of the potential impact on oil and natural-gas production areas, including those in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. state of Florida is also the world’s biggest orange grower after Brazil.
--With assistance from Yee Kai Pin in Singapore and Randall Hackley in Zurich. Editors: Randall Hackley, Alexander Kwiatkowski
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