Hurricane Jova closes in on western Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (CNN) — Hurricane Jova closed in on Mexico’s Pacific coast early Tuesday, a weakening but still powerful Category 3 storm, the National Hurricane Center said.
Jova was about 130 miles southwest of the resort town of Manzanillo at 8 a.m. ET, according to the hurricane center. It was moving north-northeast at about 6 mph, with 115 mph winds.
The outer bands of the hurricane were moving onshore Tuesday morning, the hurricane center said.
“Jova is expected to reach the coast of Mexico near major hurricane strength,” the center said. The center of the hurricane will be near the Mexican coast by Tuesday afternoon or evening, it said.
A hurricane warning was in effect from Punta San Telmo north to Cabo Corrientes, near Puerto Vallarta, forecasters said. A tropical storm warning was in effect for Lazaro Cardenas to south of Punta San Telmo and north of Cabo Corrientes to El Roblito.
Emergency officials rushed to complete preparations as Jova approached.
Mexico braces for Hurricane Jova
“Our main concern is the welfare of the population,” said Trinidad Lopez, civil protection director in Jalisco state. “We’re doing everything in our power to protect people.”
At least 100 shelters were open, Lopez said. Workers distributed food, cots and blankets, and crews positioned heavy machinery in strategic locations throughout the state, he added.
Mexico’s federal government was providing assistance as well. More than 300 soldiers had been deployed and members of the Mexican navy in Puerto Vallarta were on alert, Lopez said.
While officials prepared for the storm’s arrival, tourists heading to the popular resort area said they were determined not to let the storm ruin their trip.
“We already have plans. Everything is paid for. We’re going. It’s not going to bother us,” said Doris Milburn, who was on her way to Puerto Vallarta for a weeklong trip with her daughter, her grandson and the grandson’s girlfriend.
The Arkansas resident said her family was prepared to have fun, even if rainy weather threatens.
“We’ll just walk around, have a margarita or two, (a) bloody Mary and read our books,” she said as she waited for a flight at the Dallas airport.
A Carnival cruise ship originally scheduled to arrive in Manzanillo Monday headed to Cabo San Lucas instead, cruise line spokeswoman Joyce Oliva said.
Mexico’s National Meteorological Service warned boaters off the country’s Pacific coast to prepare for increasing rain, waves and wind.
High surf warnings were in effect, with forecasters warning that swells generated by Jova were striking parts of Mexico’s southwest coast.
“These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the hurricane center said. “Jova is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 6 to 12 inches over the states of Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches possible.”
CNN’s Dave Alsup contributed to this report.