Norbert Weakens to Category 3 Storm; New Pacific Hurricane Named

Hurricane Norbert weakened to a Category 3 storm early Thursday as it lumbers on a path expected to take it to Mexico's southern Baja California peninsula over the weekend.

Norbert's winds have decreased slightly to 125 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. But forecasters said it remains a dangerous storm.

In Ciudad Obregon, across the Sea of Cortez from Baja California, farmers rushed to finish fertilizing their fields before the hurricane hit. At the Fiesta Inn hotel, workers were sealing wood decks to prepare for the heavy rains.

Norbert will likely turn toward the northeast over the next two days en route to the Baja peninsula and Mexican mainland, forecasters said. Officials across the region were setting up shelters and preparing for possible evacuations from low-lying regions.

The hurricane was about 410 miles south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California at 0900 GMT, forecasters said. It was moving toward the northwest near 7 mph.

Baja residents were waiting to see what the storm would do before preparing.

"Everything is very calm right now. Only a sporadic shower or two," said Elizabeth Guillien, manager of Hotel Conquistador in Ciudad Constitucion, a town in the southern peninsula.

Norbert is the seventh hurricane of the east Pacific season.

Tropical Storm Odile, meanwhile, has formed in the Pacific Ocean. Odile, the 15th named storm of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, has maximum sustained winds near 40 mph. But the storm is expected to strengthen.

Odile is centered about 315 miles southeast of Puerto Angel. Forecasters expect Odile's center to head northwest, moving parallel to Mexico's Pacific coast but offshore.

Click here for more from the National Hurricane Center.