Tropical Storm Nora was forecast to reach hurricane force Saturday while nearing the Puerto Vallarta area and then head toward a close encounter with resorts at the tip of Baja California Peninsula.
The weakened remnants may even bring rains later next week to the US Southwest, the Great Basin and Central Rockies, forecasters said.
The storm’s large wind field and heavy rains mean much of Mexico's central and northern Pacific Coast is likely to see floods, mudslides and perilous surf even if it misses the very heart of the hurricane.
The US National Hurricane Center forecast track showed Nora skirting close to the bay sheltering Puerto Vallarta by Sunday morning and then shooting straight up the narrow Gulf of California a day later, passing very close to the Los Cabos resorts. Also near that track is the resort of Mazatlan.
Nora was expected to start weakening as it blows further north toward the Arizona border region.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) late Friday, with tropical storm force winds extending out 275 miles (440 kilometers) from the center in some places.
It was centered about 285 miles (460 kilometers) south of Cabo Corrientes, the point jutting into the Pacific south of Puerto Vallarta, and it was heading to the northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).
The Hurricane Center said the Mexican states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco could see rainfall totals 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) with isolated maximums still higher.
Baja California Sur state could see 4 to 8 inches of rain, with more in isolated spots.