Lorenzo Strengthens To Hurricane

Thursday, September 27th 2007, 8:33 am
By: News On 6

VERACRUZ, Mexico (AP) _ Lorenzo strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane off Mexico's Gulf Coast and was expected to strike land early Friday with battering waves and heavy rains, the National Hurricane Center said.

Officials canceled classes and set up temporary shelters on the coastline of Veracruz state Thursday, as the Mexican government issued a hurricane warning from Palma Sola to Cabo Rojo. No evacuations were immediately planned, but a steady rain was drenching the area.

At 8 p.m. EDT, Lorenzo was centered about 75 miles east-southeast of Tuxpan in Veracruz and was moving westward at 6 mph, the Florida-based center said. It had top sustained winds near 75 mph.

The storm was forecast to hit land near Tuxpan in six to 12 hours with ``dangerous and battering waves'' as well as storm surge flooding of 2 to 4 feet, the center said.

Forecasters said it could dump 5 to 10 inches of rain in Veracruz state, with isolated downpours reaching 15 inches.

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.