World

Tropical Storm Beatriz stronger, aims for Mexico

Winds began gusting and rain started to fall across southwest Mexico's resort beaches Monday as a strengthening Tropical Storm Beatrix approached the country's Pacific coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm was currently packing sustained winds of 70 miles an hour (113 kph) and is expected to become a hurricane in the coming hours. A hurricane hunter plane flew into the center to measure its strength.

A hurricane warning was extended Monday evening from the resort city of Zihuatanejo northwest to Cabo Corrientes. Watches and tropical storm warnings went out for other parts of the coast.

Beatriz is located about 160 miles (257 kms) south-southwest of Manzanillo and moving northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).

But people mostly went about their business in Manzanillo, waiting for buses and shuttling to and from work on Monday afternoon. The eye of the storm is expected to pass within 37 miles (60 kms) of the beach town on Tuesday afternoon.

Manzanillo authorities closed their port to small craft. Farther south along the coast in Zihuatanejo, civil protection officials ordered the port closed completely and authorized five shelters in case of floods or mudslides.

"There's a lot of wind," said Carmen Lopez, a 40-year-old Mexican tourist vacationing in Manzanillo with about 15 family members from Guadalajara, three hours' drive inland. "I'm kind of scared ... but we're staying here in the hotel for our vacation."

The Esquivias family of Concord, California, which arrived Monday for their vacation, said they weren't worried about an impending hurricane at all.

"A lot of people are saying it isn't true," said Sandra Esquivias, 15.

Down the coast in Zihuatanejo, The Tides hotel advised its guests to remain in their rooms if possible and take precautions from rain and wind, receptionist Dulce Miranda said.

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Associated Press writers Sergio Flores in Acapulco and Jonathan M. Katz in Mexico City contributed to this story