Hurricane Lidia Nears the West Coast of Mexico

Hurricane Lidia was forecast to make landfall on the west coast of Mexico on Tuesday evening, bringing strong wind and heavy rains that may trigger flooding and mudslides.

On Tuesday morning, the storm strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane. It was about 195 miles west-southwest of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s west coast, and had sustained winds of 100 miles per hour, with higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center. Once a storm’s winds exceed 74 m.p.h., it is considered a hurricane.

It’s unclear exactly where on Mexico’s west coast Lidia will make landfall, but it is projected to approach land at the Islas Marías, off the coast of the state of Nayarit, on Tuesday and move inland over west-central Mexico on Tuesday night, forecasters say. The storm was expected to strengthen as it approached land — nearing the force of a Category 3 hurricane. Then it was forecast to weaken quickly as it moved over land.

Exact population estimates for the areas that might be affected weren’t available but AccuWeather meteorologists said it will likely hit a “sparsely populated area.”

Hurricane conditions were expected to reach the coast by Tuesday afternoon. A hurricane warning was in effect for Las Islas Marías and an area in west-central Mexico from Manzanillo to El Roblito.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from El Roblito to Mazatlán and from Punta San Telmo to Manzanillo on Tuesday. Lidia is expected to produce four to eight inches of rain — and in some areas up 12 inches — through Wednesday across the state of Nayarit, southern portions of the state of Sinaloa and coastal portions of the state of Jalisco in western Mexico, the Hurricane Center said.

These rains will likely produce flash and urban flooding, along with possible mudslides in areas of higher terrain near the coast. A “dangerous storm surge” is expected to cause significant coastal flooding, forecasters said.

“Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,” forecasters warned on Monday.

Swells from Lidia will affect the west coast of Mexico and the Baja California peninsula over the next few days. These swells will likely cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Models indicate Lidia will make landfall as a Category 1, Alex DaSilva, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, said on Sunday.

The waters are warm enough for Lidia to intensify but meteorologists don’t expect it to strengthen further because of wind shear, meaning that the wind will change direction, disrupting the storm’s formation.

A hurricane made landfall in Nayarit in late October last year. That storm, Hurricane Roslyn, was a Category 4 hurricane that contributed to the deaths of four people, according to the Hurricane Center.

“That was a much more significant system,” Mr. DaSilva said. “While we don’t expect it to be of that strength, we are always concerned about the flooding downpours.”

Areas inland on the west coast of Mexico have mountainous terrain, meaning that a lot of rain there can lead to mudslides, washouts and other flooding issues, he said.

Johnny Diaz, Claire Moses and Livia Albeck-Ripka contributed reporting.