BOSTON – A hurricane that could clip Mexico's coast next week grew stronger Saturday in the Pacific, while heavy rain and dangerous rip currents from a weak tropical system emptied America's East Coast beaches for a second straight late-summer weekend.
Jimena, the 10th named storm of the Pacific season, quickly became a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.
Fueled by warm Pacific waters, Jimena could be a major Category 3 hurricane by Sunday as it tracked north-northwest at 12 mph about 655 miles off the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. It was 270 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico.
The National Hurricane Center's five-day forecast predicts the storm's center could pass offshore of the peninsula next week but come close enough to bring strong winds and churn up rough seas.
The sun still shone over Acapulco Bay on Saturday afternoon, though dark storm clouds loomed on the horizon. Sailboats dotted the sea despite government warnings for residents to take precautions. Farther north, in the resort town of Zihuatanejo, authorities warned small boats to stay ashore.
Farther out in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Kevin formed with top winds of 45 mph. The storm's center on Saturday afternoon was about 1,065 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. The storm could get stronger as it moves to the west-northwest, forecasters said.
Remnants of Tropical Storm Danny spun miles offshore in the Atlantic, causing mostly rain in the East.
In Boston, heavy rain fell on hundreds lining sidewalks as the funeral procession of Sen. Edward Kennedy passed through the city. A flood watch remained in effect for parts of Massachusetts as beaches were ordered closed and public ferry services in and around Boston were canceled. Cape Code and nearby islands were expecting 40 mph winds later Saturday.
Towns along the Connecticut shore were prepared for the storm and had sandbags and water pumps placed on standby.
Large waves kept most people out of the water at beaches along the New Jersey shore Saturday, the second straight weekend marred by a tropical storm system.
No injuries were reported, though authorities in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, rescued nine people trapped in five vehicles along a flooded street.
In North Carolina, tropical storm watches for the coast were discontinued, but people were urged to be cautious near the water.
The dangers of storm-agitated seas were demonstrated when a young boy disappeared Friday in rough surf off North Carolina. His mother reported seeing him go underwater off the town of Corolla, not far from the Virginia line. His body board washed ashore without him.
The Coast Guard and local authorities spent hours looking for the 12-year-old boy but called off the search Friday evening and didn't expect to continue searching Saturday.
In New York's Long Island, Nassau County's health department closed 20 beaches Saturday because of heavy rainfall. Suffolk County closed two beaches and advised against bathing at 64 more.
Storm water runoff often leads to sewage discharges and elevated bacteria levels on Long Island sound.
Health officials say the beaches will be reopened once tidal cycles have flushed the area.