Mexico's Oaxaca state braces for Hurricane Carlotta

The southern Mexican state of Oaxaca braced Friday for a hit from Hurricane Carlotta, closing schools and setting up shelters as the storm careened toward its coast.

In preparation for landfall, authorities issued an orange alert and warned of high risks for some coastal communities as heavy wind and rain intensified.

Thirty-two shelters able to hold 2,000 people were set up in the resorts of Huatulco, Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido, authorities said, while auditoriums and other indoor spaces were readied as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, school was suspended in communities of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the coast, local education officials said.

Carlotta was packing winds of 170 kilometers (105 miles) per hour and was moving northwestward at 19 kilometers (12 miles) per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin at 2100 GMT.

"Some additional strengthening is possible this evening, followed by weakening as the center of Carlotta moves along the coast of Mexico," the NHC said after Carlotta became a category two storm on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale.

The eye of the storm, set to move over or near the southern Mexican coast between Puerto Angel and Acapulco later Friday and Saturday, was located about 65 miles (105 kilometers) south-southeast of Puerto Angel.

US meteorologists predicted total rainfall of 7.5 to 12.5 centimeters (three to five inches) in Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca states, and up to 38 centimeters (15 inches) along the Oaxaca coast.

"These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the NHC said, adding the hurricane was forecast to take a turn toward the west-northwest on Saturday.

"A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding to the north and east of the center," it added, warning of "large and destructive waves."

But the storm was not expected to affect a G20 summit happening in Los Cabos, Mexico, as delegates began gathering for the Monday and Tuesday meetings.

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