Hurricane Carlos weakening, but Pacific coastal towns in southwestern Mexico stay on alert

Some coastal towns closed their schools and small boats were ordered off the sea near the popular beach resort of Puerto Vallarta as a weakening Hurricane Carlos swirled up Mexico's southwestern coast.

Carlos lost power Tuesday night, with its sustained winds barely strong enough to make it a Category 1 hurricane, but officials kept alerts in place as a precaution.

Education authorities in Jalisco state said schools would not operate in a half dozen towns. Officials also closed the waters off Puerto Vallarta to small boats, and at least one cruise ship canceled a port call planned for Wednesday, port official Odilon Garcia Castillon said by phone from the Pacific Coast city.

Carlos had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) late Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Its forecast said the story should weaken substantially over the next 48 hours as it moved closer to Puerto Vallarta.

The storm was centered about 55 miles (90 kilometers) south-southwest of Manzanillo and was moving northwest about 5 mph (7 kph) along a stretch of coast that is mostly lightly populated, with the exception of the port city of Manzanillo, which has about 100,000 inhabitants.

Rain accumulations of 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) were possible in areas near the storm, with a chance for up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) in isolated spots, the Hurricane Center said.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes. A hurricane watch was posted from Punta San Telmo to Playa Perula.