ENVIRONMENT

Eugene now tropical storm, but could whip up California surf

Hurricane Eugene weakened into a tropical storm Monday night off Mexico's Pacific Coast, though forecasters said it could still cause rough surf and rip currents in Southern California and the west coast of the Baja California peninsula.

A day after strengthening to a major Category 3 storm, Eugene's maximum sustained winds lost strength throughout the day, falling to 70 mph (110 kph) by Monday night.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said continued weakening was expected as Eugene moved over cooler waters.

But the center said swells generated by Eugene were affecting parts of Mexico's Baja California and those swells would spread to parts of Southern California. The swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, it warned.

The storm was centered about 565 miles (905 kilometers) west-southwest of the tip of the peninsula. It was moving toward the northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).