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Carlos slows to tropical storm, likely to be hurricane again

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Workers cleared hammocks and lounge chairs from beachside hotels and cafes as Tropical Storm Carlos churned up strong winds and waves Sunday while threatening to regain strength as it trudged up Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Carlos lost its brief hurricane status early in the day then picked up some strength. By late afternoon, the storm’s center was 75 miles (120 kilometers) west-southwest of Acapulco and had top sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The former Category 1 hurricane was moving northwest about 3 mph (5 kph) and was forecast to become a hurricane again during the night.

There were no reports of serious damage and only one injury, someone who fell from a fence, said Jonathan Capote, spokesman for Guerrero state’s Civil Protection agency.

“Aside from a few fallen billboards and trees, we haven’t had any damage,” he said.

Beaches along the iconic Acapulco Bay, normally filled with families on a weekend afternoon, were nearly deserted as waves nearly 6 feet (2 meters) high broke against the shore, washing away 16 small palm-frond huts.

Sergio Pina, a business risk manager from Mexico City, stood among a group of spectators watching the wild weather.

“It’s impressive. It’s very strong,” he said. “There are launches turned over, fallen cables.”

In the distance out to sea, two surfers caught the big crashing waves as they rolled to shore.

Officials said schools would be closed Monday and urged residents to stay inside their homes. State authorities said 507 shelters, including 98 in Acapulco, had been prepared along Guerrero’s coast.

Coastal areas to the north of Acapulco, as far as Michoacan state, also were taking precautions and beaches there were less busy than usual.

Carlos, on Saturday, briefly became the third hurricane of the 2015 eastern Pacific season. Forecasters said it still threatened to bring heavy rains that could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Rain accumulations of 6 inches to 10 inches were possible in southwestern Mexico, with a chance for up to 15 inches in some areas, according to the hurricane center.

A hurricane warning extended from Tecpan de Galeana in Guerrero to Punta San Telmo in Michoacan, and a hurricane watch from west of Punta San Telmo to Manzanillo in Colima state.

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