Hurricane Rina on course for Mexico’s Caribbean resorts; evacuations under way

Rina is forecast to remain a hurricane as it sweeps along Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations Cancun, Cozumel and the Riviera Maya, on Thursday, though forecasters predicted it would continue to weaken.Rina’s maximum sustained winds dropped to 85 mph (135 kph) Wednesday afternoon, down from 110 mph (175 kph) earlier in the day. It was about 190 miles (305 kilometers) south-southeast of the island of Cozumel, and was moving to the west- northwest at about 5 mph (7 kph).

The Mexican government also announced it is sending nearly 2,400 electrical workers, plus cranes, vehicles and generators to repair and maintain services as quickly as possible after the storm.

Soldiers, marines and state police had arrived with vehicles in Punta Allen on Tuesday to evacuate about 275 residents and take them to a storm shelter at a middle school; about 500 people are expected to be evacuated there in total, according to Quintana Roo state Civil Defense Director Luis Carlos Rodriguez.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from north of Punta Gruesa to Cancun.

The Mexican government issued a hurricane warning for the northeast coast of the Yucatan peninsula from Cancun to San Felipe. A tropical storm warning is in effect farther south on the peninsula from Chetumal to Punta Gruesa.

The projected track shows it curving east toward Cuba and the Straits of Florida by early next week, though the Hurricane Center cautioned “there is great uncertainty as to where Rina will be located by the weekend.”

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Associated Press writer Adriana Gomez Licon in Mexico City contributed to this story.

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