(Updates position in 11th paragraph.)
Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Rina is a Category 1 storm as it moves toward landfall tomorrow on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula near the resorts of Cancun and Cozumel.
The system’s maximum sustained winds are 85 miles (137 kilometers) per hour and Rina is still expected to be a hurricane when it strikes the coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory at 8 p.m. New York time.
“No important changes in strength are expected before the center of Rina reaches the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula,” according to the advisory.
The center said in an advisory earlier today that Rina could “weaken faster than currently forecast and become a remnant low” within five days.
Rina’s top winds were 110 mph earlier today, making it a strong Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.
Hurricane warnings, meaning that winds of at least 74 mph may arrive within 36 hours, have been posted along the entire northeastern coast of the peninsula.
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 2 feet to 4 feet above normal, down from earlier estimates of 5 feet to 7 feet. 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.
Rina is weakening in part because it is pulling in dry air from over the Yucatan and from another pocket over the ocean, said Paul Walker, expert senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.
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.
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 yesterday that the storm may shut in 6.27 million barrels a day of oil produced by Pemex.
Rina is about 150 miles south-southeast of Cozumel, moving northwest at 6 mph, according to the advisory. Hurricane- strength winds extend 15 miles from the storm’s core, down from 25 miles earlier today. Winds of at least 39 mph reach out 105 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. The government of Belize discontinued a tropical storm watch from Belize City to the Mexican border, and Honduras dropped a watch for the islands of Roatan and Guanaja earlier today.
The storm’s current track has it weakening to a tropical storm over Mexico before curving to the east and becoming a tropical depression over western Cuba.
“They are going to get good tropical rains across Florida but as far as the actual system, it may not even get up to Florida,” Walker said.
--With assistance from Carlos Manuel Rodriguez in Mexico City, Sherry Su and Alex Morales in London, Randall Hackley in Zurich and Lynn Doan in San Francisco. Editors: Charlotte Porter, Richard Stubbe
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