Tropical Storm Lorenzo Expected to Reach Gulf of Mexico As Hurricane

Thursday, September 27th 2007, 5:35 pm
By: News On 6

VERACRUZ, Mexico (AP) _ Tropical Storm Lorenzo formed Thursday off Mexico's Gulf Coast and was expected to make landfall as a hurricane in the next 24 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Lorenzo's center was projected to reach land Friday morning near the small port of Tuxpan in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

Officials issued a storm warning from Palma Sola to Cabo Rojo, canceled classes and set up shelters as steady rain drenched the coastline of Veracruz. No evacuations were immediately planned, however.

At 5 p.m. EDT, Lorenzo had top sustained winds near 70 mph, just 4 mph below hurricane force, the National Hurricane Center said.

``Some additional strengthening is forecast and Lorenzo could reach the coast as a hurricane,'' it said.

The storm was moving west at about 5 mph, and forecasters warned it could dump as much as 15 inches of rain on Veracruz state.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Karen weakened slightly in the open Atlantic Ocean. Karen's center was about 845 miles east of the Windward Islands at 5 p.m. and moving northwest near 13 mph. Its maximum sustained winds had decreased from 65 mph to 60 mph, and some further weakening was forecast for the disorganized storm.