MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hurricane Sandra weakened to a tropical storm on Friday and was expected to continue losing strength as it approached Mexico's Pacific coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Sandra, about 215 miles (346 km) southwest of the Pacific port of Mazatlan on Friday evening, was producing maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (113 kph), the NHC said.
"Sandra is expected to be near tropical storm strength when it moves near the coast of Mexico in the warning area on Saturday. After the center moves inland, Sandra should quickly dissipate," the Miami-based NHC said.
Sandra had been the strongest hurricane recorded in the eastern Pacific Ocean this late in the year.
Mexico called off a tropical storm watch for the southernmost portion of Baja California. But it issued a tropical storm warning for part of the mainland of Mexico and for Las Islas Marias, an archipelago off the Pacific coast.
Last month, Hurricane Patricia, which at one point registered as one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded, landed on Mexico's Pacific coast but did not inflict major damage.
(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle and Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sandra Maler)