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Hurricane threatens to gatecrash the ‘Fiesta de las Americas’

October 11, 2011

With just four days to go until the opening ceremony of the Pan American Games, hurricanes are threatening to wreak havoc with last minute preparations taking place in Guadalajara.

Mexico’s National Weather Service (SNM) issued a warning early on Monday that Hurricane Jova looks set to hit Jalisco the following day. Forecasts suggest the effects of the hurricane could last until Thursday, while Irwin, a second tropical storm, is also threatening the region.

Jova was declared a category three hurricane early Monday morning, moving eastward toward Mexico’s Central Pacific coastline with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour and gusts of 155 miles per hour.

Michoacan, Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit are all on states of alert, with heavy rains expected and the possibility of flash floods and landslides, as well as waves of two to three meters along the coast. The waters off Michoacan and Jalisco have already recorded a significant increase in swell and sailors are recommended to take precautions.

This morning’s rains in Guadalajara were attributed to Jova related weather conditions and the situation is expected to worsen over the coming days.

This could have a damaging impact upon the Pan American Games, which begin Friday with a lavish opening ceremony in the open-air Omnilife Stadium.

Normally held in the summer, the games were moved to October this year to avoid Mexico’s rainy season. However, it seems the autumnal hurricane season was not factored into this decision.

The impending storm could well disrupt the finalization of the athletics stadium, where the running track is only now being laid and due to be officially certified either today or tomorrow. Watersports, which take place in Puerto Vallarta, could also be adversely affected by the consequences of severe weather.

Ominously, another tropical storm known as Irwin is also slowly approaching the Pacific coast, with a current location 810 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, a tourist town in Baja California.

Concerned citizens are advised to contact their local authorities for information on evacuation routes and the location of their nearest shelters. Given the possibility of high waves, those living at the coast should exert extreme caution if fishing or at the beach.

Listen carefully to regional weather forecasts and in the event of emergency pack a suitcase with any necessary medications, bottled water, canned food, important documents and a first aid kit.

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