Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Rina may be out of time to strengthen into a Category 3 storm before it reaches Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula tomorrow, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Rina remains a strong Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles (177 kilometers) per hour, the center said in an advisory at 11 a.m. East Coast time.
Hurricane warnings, meaning winds of at least 74 mph may arrive within 36 hours, have been extended along the entire northeast coast of the peninsula, where the storm is forecast to make landfall late tomorrow. The warning area includes the resorts of Cozumel and Cancun.
“Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion in the warning area,” the center said.
As much as 16 inches (41 centimeters) of rain may fall across the area through the end of the week and tides are expected to rise 5 feet to 7 feet above normal. The island of Chinchorro and town of Punta Allen have been evacuated, according to the Quintana Roo state government.
Governor Roberto Borge Angulo suspended classes starting today at schools in six municipalities, according to a statement on the state government’s website. He also banned the sale of alcohol from 6 p.m. today in those areas, which include Benito Juarez, Cancun, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, popular with Western tourists. He ordered the evacuation of Punta Herrero.
Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest oil producer, said port and offshore operations are normal, according to an e- mail. Kinetic Analysis Corp., which assesses the potential impact of hazards, estimated the storm may shut in 6.51 million barrels a day of oil produced by Pemex.
Rina is about 200 miles south-southeast of Cozumel, moving west-northwest at 5 mph, according to the advisory. Hurricane- strength winds extend 25 miles from the storm’s core and winds of at least 39 mph reach out 115 miles.
In addition to the hurricane warnings, which extend from north of Punta Gruesa to San Felipe, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Chetumal to Punta Gruesa and from San Felipe to Progreso. A tropical storm watch has been posted for the coast of Belize from Belize City northward and for Honduras’s Bay Islands of Roatan and Guanaja.
Rina is expected to lose power as it nears the Yucatan Peninsula, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aircraft about to enter the storm may find it has already started to weaken, according to the hurricane center.
Weather patterns over the U.S. will help steer the storm away from the Bay of Campeche and the Gulf of Mexico, where oil and natural gas platforms and rigs are concentrated, forecasters said. The Gulf is home to 27 percent of U.S. oil output and 6.5 percent of natural gas production.
The storm’s current track has it bending to the east and nearing the western tip of Cuba early next week, then weakening to a tropical storm.
--With assistance from Carlos Manuel Rodriguez in Mexico City, Sherry Su and Alex Morales in London and Randall Hackley in Zurich. Editors: Charlotte Porter, Margot Habiby
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