MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tropical storm Carlos threatened the Mexican Pacific beach resort of Acapulco with heavy rains on Sunday, and is likely to become a hurricane again as it barrels toward the coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Bracing for high winds, strong waves and downpours, Acapulco, the biggest city in the southwestern state of Guerrero, closed its port, and school classes were suspended in the state for Monday, local government authorities said.
Shelters for people at risk from the rainfall were opened, and the advancing weather front has already knocked down trees and fences in parts of the state, authorities added.
Meanwhile on the other side of the country, a low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico was producing showers on the coast of Guatemala, Belize, and the Yucatan peninsula, and it could become a tropical storm in the next two days, the NHC said.
On Sunday morning, Carlos was 75 miles (121 km) south-southwest of Acapulco, blowing maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (113 km/h) with higher gusts, and moving to the northwest at around 2 mph (3 km/h), the Miami-based NHC said.
The storm's forward speed is forecast to increase and Carlos should later turn toward the west-northwest, the center said.
Carlos was a category 1 hurricane on Saturday, but was downgraded to a tropical storm after weakening overnight. By Monday, Carlos is expected to become a hurricane again.
The NHC projections showed it could hit the coast near the industrial port of Manzanillo by Tuesday morning, before moving inland into the state of Jalisco the following day.
Rain from Carlos is expected to fall in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco, with 15 inches (38cm) possible in some areas through Tuesday, the center said.
A hurricane watch was in effect from Punta San Telmo to Manzanillo, with storm warnings also out in Guerrero.
(Reporting by Dave Graham and Noe Torres; editing by Susan Thomas)