Hurricane Carlos heads to Mexico as new storm builds off Texas

stormCarlos maintained hurricane force off Mexico’s Pacific coast early Tuesday, as parts of the United States braced for a separate storm system expected to unleash heavy rains.

Carlos, a category one hurricane, crept in a northwesterly direction parallel to Mexico’s southwestern coast in the Pacific Ocean, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

On the lowest of the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale, the hurricane packed maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour as it swirled some 140 kilometers southwest of the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan state.

Over in the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Bill was bringing winds of 80 kilometers per hour and was expected to make landfall over the Texas coast later Tuesday.

Forecasters said Bill would unleash up to 20 centimeters (eight inches) of rain over eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma.

“The combination of a storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters,” forecasters said.

Carlos is expected to produce rains in the states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit, with accumulations of up to 25 centimeters possible through Thursday, the hurricane center said. Swells could cause life-threatening surf, as well as mudslides and flash floods.

Carlos is the third hurricane of the Pacific storm season, following Andres, which never made landfall, and Blanca, which weakened to a tropical storm when it reached the Baja California peninsula earlier this month.

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