The beach towns along Mexico's popular Pacific Coast began evacuations as the powerful Category Three Hurricane Jova headed on a path toward land on Tuesday.
Hotels up and down the coast dragged in beach furniture as officials set up shelters for stranded tourists.
As of 8 a.m. PDT, Hurricane Jova was roughly 120 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. The storm was moving north-northeast at 5 mph and was expected to approach the Pacific Coast of Mexico Tuesday afternoon.
Though Jova is a Category Three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the storm is relatively small. Hurricane-force winds extend outward just 15 miles from the storm center, while tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles.
A hurricane warning is in effect for the coast from Punta San Telmo northward to Cabo Corrientes. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Lazaro Cardenas northward to south of Punta San Telmo as well as north of Cabo Corrientes to El Roblito.
On its forecasted track, the center of Jova is expected to make landfall just north of the idyllic beach town of La Barra de Navidad and south of the megaresort mecca Puerto Vallarta.
Remnants of Hurricane Jova are projected to pass across Guadalajara but dissipate by the time the Jalisco state capital inaugurates the Pan American Games on Friday.
Because a dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding near and to the east of where Jova makes landfall, the hotels and resorts of the popular coast have begun evacuations.
In Barra de Navidad, authorities readied two elementary schools to serve as storm shelters. Laura Gurza, chief of the federal Civil Protection emergency response agency, said that at least 65 shelters were set up in the states of Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit.
Authorities set up shelters not just on the coast, but for residents of inland towns as well. The mountainous terrain could trigger flash floods and mudslides, which often pose the biggest threat in this region.
Hurricane Jova could bring up to 20 inches of rain in some areas.
Hotel employees taped up windows, cleaned out water channels, and pulled in all furniture. Meanwhile, authorities shut down the port of Manzanillo, the biggest cargo center on Mexico's Pacific coast.
Several cruise ships were forced to alter their itineraries.
Carnival Spirit reversed its nine-day Los Angeles-based itinerary. On Tuesday, the ship called on La Paz. On Wednesday it will be in Cabo, Thursday Puerto Vallarta, and then return to Los Angeles next Sunday.
Holland America's Oosterdam skipped its stop at Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday and Wednesday, instead spending a day at sea and stopping at La Paz on Wednesday.
The Disney Wonder also replaced a scheduled call in Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday with a stop in Cabo San Lucas.
Elsewhere in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Irwin made a slight comeback on Tuesday and may strike the same area as Jova later in the week. At 8 a.m. PDT, Irwin was located about 620 miles south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and was moving east at 8 mph.