MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Kay gained strength in the Pacific Wednesday and began lashing Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, where authorities prepared by opening shelters and closing some roads.
Forecasters said there’s a chance outer bands of the big storm could bring heavy rain — and possibly flash floods — to parts of scorched Southern California and southwestern Arizona Friday night and Saturday.
Kay’s maximum sustained winds rose to 105 mph (165 kph), with forecasters saying it could brush the mid portion of the peninsula Thursday or Friday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Kay was centered about 210 miles (340 kilometers) southwest of the southern tip of the Baja peninsula. Kay was moving north-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).
A hurricane warning was issued for a sparsely populated stretch of the peninsula around Bahia Asuncion and the state government of Baja California Sur announced it was opening shelters for people who need to evacuate. It said some creeks were already rising and closed some roads.
Forecasters expected Kay to stay offshore as it moves more northward, roughly parallel to the coast, it was an expansive storm, with tropical storm-force winds extending up to 230 miles (370 kilometers) from the center.
Heavy rain continued in Los Cabos at the southern tip of the peninsula Wednesday. Mayor Oscar Leggs Castro said that there were already more than 800 people in shelters in the twin resort destinations as winds picked up early Wednesday morning.
Long lines of cars waited to fill up at gas stations. Nonessential businesses were closed and some airlines cancelled flights.
Landslides had reportedly cut some roadways on the peninsula, but there were no reports of injuries.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Earl churned through open waters in the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday and was forecast to pass just southeast of Bermuda on Thursday night as a Category 3 storm.
The island’s national security minister, Michael Weeks, told reporters that public services and government offices would keep operating but warned residents to brace for tropical storm conditions.
“Bermuda will certainly feel the effects from Earl, so we must guard against complacency,” he said.
Earl was centered about 440 miles (705 kilometers) south of Bermuda on Wednesday afternoon. It had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph) and was traveling north at 8 mph (13 kph).
Farther out, Hurricane Danielle was kicking up high seas from its center some 625 miles (1,005 kilometers) northwest of the Azores.
It had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph).