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Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 13:04 UK

Mexico's Norbert weakens to storm

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Hurricane lashes Mexico's Baja California Sur

Hurricane Norbert which struck Mexico's western peninsula has weakened as it made a second landfall on the country's mainland, meteorologists said.

Norbert, with 103 mph (165 km/h) winds, first struck near the city of La Paz in Baja California peninsula on Saturday, blowing down roofs and uprooting trees.

Thousands of residents fled to shelters for safety.

Norbert then crossed the Gulf of California, before making a second landfall on the north-west mainland.

The US National Hurricane Center said Norbert was no longer classed as a hurricane and had been downgraded to a Category 1 tropical storm, with a wind speed of 60 mph.

At 0900 GMT, the storm was 140 miles (225 km) south-west of Chihuahua, Mexico, and was moving in a north-east direction.

"Norbert is expect to rapidly weaken to a depression later this morning and to dissipate as a tropical cyclone later today," the Miami-based center said.

The government has discontinued issuing hurricane warnings along the coast.

Nearly 3,000 people were evacuated to temporary shelters on Mexico's Pacific coast as the storm came ashore, bringing with it 13ft (four-metre) waves.

Trees uprooted

Baja California Sur's civil protection chief, Jose Gajon, said about 1,000 people were in shelters and more were expected.

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"If it is necessary, we will use authorities to take to shelters those who refuse to go," he added.

Rescue teams have already evacuated people from homes made from wooden boards and sheet metal in low-lying areas.

The wind uprooted palm trees and water rose knee-high in some streets of the town of Puerto San Carlos.

"We left our house because we were scared. Our house is pretty poor and the water was already coming in," said Maria Espinosa, 54, who arrived at a school with her daughter and two grandchildren.

Norbert is not expected to strengthen significantly as it crosses the Gulf of California, the hurricane center said.

It is forecast to weaken once it moves into north-western Mexico on a path towards Arizona.


SEE ALSO
Norbert loses strength off Mexico
09 Oct 08 |  Americas
Animated guide: Hurricanes
01 Jun 05 |  Science & Environment

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