Hurricane Nora skirting Mexico coast near Puerto Vallarta

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People try to start a stalled vehicle to transport people through a street flooded by rain brought on by Hurricane Ida, in Guanimar, Artemisa province, Cuba, Saturday Aug. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

MEXICO CITY – Hurricane Nora formed off Mexico's Pacific coast Saturday and later made landfall near the Puerto Vallarta area, following a path that could also take it for a possible close encounter with the resorts at the tip of Baja California peninsula.

Nora had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph) early Saturday evening, with tropical storm force winds extending out 160 miles (260 kilometers) in some places. It was centered about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south-southwest of Puerto Vallara, and heading to the north at 14 mph (22 kph).

The storm's large wind field and heavy rains meant much of Mexico's central and northern Pacific Coast could see flooding, mudslides and perilous surf even if it missed the very heart of the hurricane.

The weakened remnants might even bring rains next week to the U.S. Southwest, the Great Basin and Central Rockies, forecasters said.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center's forecast track showed Nora crossing the bay sheltering Puerto Vallarta during the night, then hugging the coast while heading toward the narrow Gulf of California, possibly passing near the Los Cabos resorts at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula Monday. The track also passes close to the mainland resort of Mazatlan.

Nora was expected to start weakening at midweek while moving north toward the Arizona border region.

The Hurricane Center said some areas along the west coast of Mexico could see rainfall totals 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) with isolated maximums still higher.