MEXICO CITY -- A hurricane with sustained winds of up to 120 mph was spinning off of Mexico’s Pacific coast on Monday, threatening to bring more suffering to a country still recovering from dozens of deaths and massive destruction caused by a combined hurricane and tropical storm last month.
Hurricane Raymond, classified as a Category 3 storm, was about 125 miles south-southwest of the resort city of Zihuatanejo early Monday morning, its eye approximately 12 miles wide, according to Conagua, Mexico's national water commission. The storm was creeping northward toward the coast at a rate of about 2 mph, it said.
Officials said it was the first Category 3 storm of the year for Mexico.
The strongest effects, including wind gusts that could hit 149 mph, are likely to be felt along a stretch of coast in the state of Guerrero that lies northwest of Acapulco and includes the Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa resort area and the important port city of Lazaro Cardenas, in the state of Michoacan, near the Guerrero border.
Those two states were expected to suffer "torrential" rains, with intense rain also predicted for 15 other Mexican states.
The Mexican Interior Ministry announced that 770 temporary shelters were being set up in Guerrero. Port activities and school classes were suspended along the coast.
Last month, Mexico's Gulf Coast was strafed by Hurricane Ingrid, while the Pacific was hit hard by Tropical Storm Manuel. The double punch killed at least 139 people, left thousands homeless and forced authorities to airlift thousands of tourists stranded in hard-hit Acapulco.
Years of poor building practices, corruption and lack of attention to environmental regulations are believed to have exacerbated the damage.