(NEW YORK) — A storm system off the Pacific coast of Mexico — strengthened from a tropical depression to a tropical storm overnight — is on track to become a hurricane when it makes landfall on Friday.
As of Thursday morning, Tropical Storm Carlotta is moving northwest at 10 miles per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, but that’s expected to change soon.
“Right now we are expecting it to reach at least Category 1 hurricane strength before it nears the coast of Mexico on Friday morning, but certainly Category 2 intensity is not out of the question,” Stacy Stewart from the National Hurricane Center in Miami says.
The National Hurricane Center says a hurricane watch is in effect for the south-central coast of Mexico, from Barra de Tonala to Punta Maldonado. Heavy rainfall could impact tourism along the Mexican Riviera, including popular hot spots like Acapulco.
“Right now most of the computer models we have indicate that the storm will slow down and possibly stall in the general vicinity of Acapulco and of course that would just keep the heavy rainfall ongoing much longer than if the storm would just move through and get out of the area,” Stewart says.
That could lead to flash flooding and mudslides, she adds.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Angela Dewan and Euan McKirdy, CNN
Chris Williams and Jason Hanna, CNN
Chandrika Narayan and Steve Almasy, CNN