Hurricane Bud heading toward Mexico

In the coastal town of Barra de Navidad , a Mexican navy vehicle drives along a deserted street as the community prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Bud. BRUNO GONZALEZ / Associated Press
In the coastal town of Barra de Navidad , a Mexican navy vehicle drives along a deserted street as the community prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Bud. BRUNO GONZALEZ / Associated Press

Pacific coast beach towns braced for the storm, which is weaker but still expected to hit hard.

Posted: May 26, 2012

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - Hurricane Bud continued to weaken Friday as it headed toward a string of laid-back beach resorts and small mountain villages on Mexico's Pacific coast south of Puerto Vallarta. Two people, one of them from France, were reported missing in a separate storm in Cuba.

Mexican Authorities canceled school in 11 communities expected to be hit by heavy rains in Jalisco state, and emergency workers were preparing emergency shelters, many of which would be located in empty school classrooms.

Heavy rains and six-foot high waves had already started pelting Melaque, a beach town on the Bahia de Navidad, about 60 miles east of the sparsely populated stretch of coast where the hurricane's center is expected to come ashore.

Rafael Galvez, the manager of the Hotel Bahia in Melaque, said his staff was preparing to board up windows in preparation for Bud's arrival. "For me, really, this is my fourth hurricane. I went through Wilma in Cancun," which hit as a Category 4, Galvez said. "This is a little less severe."

Category 2 Hurricane Jova hit the area in October, killing six people and flooding parts of Melaque and neighboring Barra de Navidad.

"There was a lot of flooding in the whole area, and we lost electricity," Galvez recalled. But this week, he said, only seven of his hotel's 26 rooms were occupied, and the hotel's guests were not planning to leave.

A separate storm was pounding much of Cuba and the Bahamas on Friday. Cuba's civil defense agency reported that a French citizen, Alain Manaud, and a Cuban, Silvestre Fortun Alvarez, were missing after trying to cross rain-swollen rivers, according to the government's Prensa Latina news agency. A search for them continued.

The agency quoted government meteorologists as saying more than 20 inches of rain had fallen on parts of the central province of Sancti Spiritus.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami reported that the system had about a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical or subtropical cyclone.

A hurricane warning was up for Mexico's Pacific coast from Manzanillo, east of Melaque, northwestward to Cabo Corrientes. A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning were in effect from Punta San Telmo westward to east of Manzanillo.

The center said Bud was expected to weaken further before hitting the coast late Friday or early Saturday.

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