MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Sonia weakened as it approached the Pacific coast of Mexico on Sunday, but threatened heavy rains over swaths of western Mexico that have experienced major flooding over the past couple of months.
Sonia was churning 115 miles east of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula and the center of the storm was expected to reach the mainland coast early on Monday, the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory.
The weather system was traveling north-northeast at 17 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, the NHC said. The storm was expected to weaken rapidly after making landfall and dissipate over Mexico on Monday afternoon, it added.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for a stretch of the coast from the resort city of Mazatlan north to the town of Altata, both in Sinaloa state.
Sonia was expected to produce rainfall of 3 to 10 inches in both Sinaloa and Durango states, the NHC said.
Mexico’s national water commission said heavy rains could extend to more than half a dozen other western and northern states.
In September, Mexico suffered its worst flooding since records began when storms Manuel and Ingrid converged from the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico, killing more than 150 people and causing damage estimated at around $6 billion.
Last month, Hurricane Raymond caused some flooding as it approached the Pacific resort cities of Acapulco and Zihuantanejo, but no deaths or major damage was reported.
Sonia is the 18th named storm system during the current eastern Pacific hurricane season, which began in May and is set to conclude at the end of this month.
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Noe Torres; Editing by Simon Gardner and Sandra Maler)
Solar eclipse sweeps Africa, Europe and US
Nairobi (AFP) – Africans were treated Sunday to a spectacular solar eclipse that swept across the continent, while sky-gazers in the United States and Europe also glimpsed the rare phenomenon.A total eclipse could be seen over parts of Africa and one of the best views was in northern Kenya’s Sibiloi national park, where a few hundred tourists gathered on the edge of the desert lake Turkana.Alongside the tourists were colourfully dressed Kenyans from the Turkana, Rendile and Dasanach tribes, many draped in beads, who cheered as the sky darkened.But dramatic weather almost spoilt the show, with sandstorms, rain, a rainbow and heavy cloud all minutes before the eclipse, an AFP photographer said.Some tourists, fearing they would miss the sight, jetted off at the last minute, seeking a clearer spot on other side of lake.In the end the eclipse, which lasted about 10 seconds in Kenya, was partially obscured by cloud.Sky-gazers in Gabon, Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia were also treated to the total eclipse.”I saw a black disc progressively cover the sun. It’s magnificent,” said Clarence Diledou, who lives of Gabon’s port town of Port-Gentil.”But unfortunately the bad weather spoiled the party a bit.”The west African nation got peak viewing of the total eclipse as it swept over a path nearly 60 kilometres (37 miles) wide.In Port-Gentil, families gathered together for the occasion along the sea front, facing the sun.Like many in the town, Diledou used special glasses distributed by authorities to watch the rare event.Those who did not have any came up with imaginative solutions, among them Pauline Koumba, who put a bowl of water in her courtyard and watched the reflected eclipse.”I saw the brief passage of the eclipse in my bowl. But it was over quickly and the black clouds spoiled the effect,” she said.Families also gathered in Gabon’s capital Libreville, where the eclipse was less spectacular, but where the skies darkened noticeably for about half an hour from 1330 GMT.In the eastern United States, viewers caught sight of a partial eclipse lasting 45 minutes close to sunrise.Partial views were also available in southern European countries Spain, Italy, Greece, and also in Iraq.The round shape of the Earth explains why viewers in Africa saw a total eclipse, while those in the United States and Europe only saw the sun partly obscured.Experts say a safe way to view an eclipse is by making a pinhole camera — piercing a tiny hole in a piece of paper then turning your back to the sun and using the pierced page to project the image of the sun on another sheet of paper.A map of the eclipse’s path can be found at: u.afp.com/wi4.