World

Tropical Storm Odile moving slowly along Mexico's Pacific coast; expected to strengthen

A tropical storm formed Wednesday in the Pacific off Mexico's southern coast and was forecast to strengthen in the coming days, possibly growing into a hurricane.

Tropical Storm Odile was centered about 200 miles (320 kilometers) south-southwest of Lazaro Cardenas and drifting northwest at 6 mph (9 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm's center was expected to remain offshore through Friday.

The storm's maximum sustained winds Wednesday afternoon were near 40 mph (65 kph).

No coastal warnings or watches were in effect, but the hurricane center predicted swells from the storm would begin affecting parts of Mexico's southwestern coast within about a day.

The storm could become a hurricane Friday and a forecast track shows it hitting the area around Los Cabos at the southern end of the Baja Peninsula over the weekend, the center said.

Last weekend, high surf and waves from Hurricane Norbert broke a containment wall and flooded the fishing village of Puerto San Carlos in the same area, damaging 1,250 houses and forcing hundreds to flee to shelters. At least 2,000 people were evacuated from Los Cabos, La Paz and Comondu.

Wenceslao Pettit, director of Civil Protection in Cabo San Lucas, said Wednesday that many of the evacuees remained in shelters and that authorities planned to meet in the next two days to prepare for any emergency caused by Odile.

There are about 12,000 families in Los Cabos living in areas prone to flooding, he said.