Hurricane Lorena threatens Mexico's Los Cabos resort

Mexico City (AFP) –


Hurricane Lorena regained strength Friday as it closed in on Mexico's Baja California peninsula and the turquoise-water beaches of popular tourist destination Los Cabos.

The storm, which has been churning up the Pacific coast, made landfall Thursday in central Mexico, then was briefly downgraded to a tropical storm before moving back over the water and regaining strength.

According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), Lorena was packing sustained winds of 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour as it approached Los Cabos Friday morning, making it a Category 1 hurricane on the scale of 1 to 5.

It was moving slowly northwest at four kilometers per hour, the NHC said in its 1500 GMT bulletin.

"Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area in the southern Baja California peninsula later today, with tropical storm conditions beginning by this morning," the NHC said.

It said the storm was expected to dump 7.6 to 15.2 centimeters (three to six inches) of rain on the area, which "may result in flash flooding."

"Some additional strengthening is possible today, but weakening is likely to begin by Saturday night," it said.

Lorena already buffeted west-central Mexico with strong winds, torrential rain and high waves, leading officials to cancel school in the affected areas.

Authorities have suspended classes in Los Cabos for Friday, and ordered all boats to remain docked.