MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hurricane Blanca weakened to a category 2 storm off Mexico's Pacific coast on Thursday but it is forecast to strengthen as it heads toward tourist resorts at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Blanca, the second hurricane to form off Mexico's Pacific coast this year, was about 465 miles (750 km) south of the major port of Manzanillo, with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (175 km), the Miami-based NHC said in a report.
It had earlier been a powerful category 4 storm on the five-step scale of hurricane strength.
The storm drifted slightly south-west early Thursday before starting to drift north-westward, the NHC said. The storm is forecast to strengthen over the next 48 hours, it added.
The states of Nayarit, Sinaloa, Baja California Sur, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco were on alert, Mexico's Interior Ministry said.
Last September, Hurricane Odile battered southern Baja California, wreaking havoc on up-market resorts such as Los Cabos and stranding thousands of tourists.
(Reporting by Max de Haldevang; Editing by Simon Gardner and James Dalgleish)