Hurricane Orlene, a Category 3 storm, is approaching western Mexico and could bring significant wind, storm surge and rainfall to the region as early as Sunday night, forecasters said.
The storm was about 115 miles southwest of Las Islas Marías, an archipelago of four islands, and was moving north, the National Hurricane Center said on Sunday afternoon. Orlene had maximum sustained winds of roughly 115 miles per hour, with higher gusts.
Category 3 storms are considered major hurricanes and have wind speeds of 111 to 129 m.p.h.
Forecasters say Orlene will be a “strong hurricane” that will most likely pass near or over the archipelago by Sunday night or Monday morning before arriving at mainland Mexico’s coast.
A hurricane warning was posted for Las Islas Marías and the coast of mainland Mexico, from San Blas to Mazatlán, meaning hurricane conditions were expected in those areas, the center said.
“Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,” the center said.
Orlene is expected to bring flash flooding and possible landslides across southwest Mexico through Tuesday, the center said. Las Islas Marías could get up to 14 inches of rain.
A dangerous storm surge and large swells could cause perilous surf and rip current conditions, forecasters said.
Orlene is the 15th named storm to form in the Eastern Pacific this year. The season for Pacific hurricanes began May 15 and lasts through Nov. 30, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Five named storms, including Orlene, formed last month. One of them, Tropical Storm Kay, briefly reached hurricane status, landing on the coast of the Baja California peninsula in early September. Orlene’s status as a tropical storm to a hurricane changed on Saturday.