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Mexico's Cancun resort braces for Hurricane Rina

(Xinhua)

10:15, October 27, 2011

MEXICO CITY, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Hurricane Rina was quickly approaching Mexico's southeastern Yucatan peninsula Wednesday and authorities have put famous coastal tourist resort of Cancun on alert.

Though weakened to a Category 1 Hurricane, Rina remained a powerful and potentially dangerous storm with maximum sustained winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour, the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

"Little change in strength is expected before the center of Rina nears the coast of the Yucatan peninsula on Thursday," it said, adding heavy rainfalls of up to 400 mm were expected over the eastern part of Yucatan and Cozumel island off its eastern coast in the next 48 hours.

The water levels would rise up to 1.3 meters accompanied by "large and destructive" waves, according to the NHC.

Mexico's National Meteorological System issued an alert for the strong rains expected in the state of Quintana Roo that is home to the city of Cancun

The areas possibly impacted by the tropical storm also included the coast of Belize, the Honduran Bay Islands, and the western part of Cuba, where hurricane warnings remained in place.

The strong rains, as well as winds and swells of up to four meters high have prompted Mexican civil protection authorities to start evacuations of people in the coastal areas.

Mexico's Social Development Ministry said it has opened more than 1,000 temporary shelters to support the most vulnerable population in Quintana Roo, where more than 350,000 people are considered threatened as Rina passes the region.

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