Mexico’s vulnerable but popular Pacific coastline prepared for the onslaught of the latest hurricane of the season Tuesday with residents and tourists hunkering down, MSNBC reports.
Jova weakened somewhat as it approached land between Barra de Navidad and the larger resort of Puerto Vallarta to the north, but remained a hurricane with sustained winds of 100 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center reported. Moving north-northeast at 8 mph, it was expected to make landfall in the early hours of Wednesday, hitting the states of Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit hardest.
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The Mexican army has assigned 1,500 soldiers to hurricane preparedness and relief efforts. Marines began evacuating areas in the flood-prone port city of Manzanillo as heavy rains began to fall and strong winds bent palm trees. They evacuated 37 residents there to relatives’ homes, while 40 others were evacuated in the nearby town of Tecoman, said Adm. Jaime Mejia.
Most Mexicans were hoping to see out the storm by staying put, but others took refuge at shelters.
“My house has a thatch roof, and it’s not safe,” Maria de Jesus Palomera Delgado, 44, told the Associated Press. She went to an improvised shelter at a grade school in Jaluco, along with her 17 children and grandchildren. “The neighbors told us the house was going to collapse” if hit by the hurricane, she added.
Tourists were also affected by the hurricane’s arrival. Bill Clark, a 59-year-old traveler from Santa Rosa, California, who reportedly appeared unfazed as he ate tacos at a street stand while enjoying a balmy Monday night, told the AP: “Some people are going out of town but I’m not really worried…I’m from California, I have been through earthquakes.”