Raymond weakens to tropical storm, moves away from Mexico

Raymond weakened to a tropical storm Wednesday and moved away from Mexico's Pacific coast, providing cautious relief to a region still reeling from a deadly hit last month.

Forecasters in both Mexico and the United States said the former hurricane lost steam overnight and was likely to abate further.

But authorities urged the public to stay alert and follow official instructions since more rain was likely, further soaking already drenched areas.

Raymond was packing maximum sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour (65 miles per hour), the US National Hurricane Center said in its latest bulletin.

At 1200 GMT, it was located some 250 kilometers south-southwest of the resort of Zihuatanejo and 305 kilometers west-southwest of another tourist haunt, Acapulco.

"Raymond weakens to a tropical storm and is now moving away from Mexico," the Miami-based center said. "Additional weakening is possible over the next couple of days."

Mexican forecasters concurred, adding that the system was moving west-southwest at 13 kilometers per hour.

Raymond previously weakened from a Category Three to a Category One hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale.

Torrential rains had prompted the evacuations of some 1,500 people in the states of Guerrero and Michoacan, while schools closed and beach plans were upended for sun-seeking tourists.

With authorities discontinuing a tropical storm warning, schools were expected to reopen in Guerrero.

But national weather officials urged locals to remain vigilant, warning downpours were expected to continue and that "the rains in recent days and even weeks have saturated soils."

Mexico is still recovering from floods and landslides unleashed by tropical storms Manuel and Ingrid last month, which left 157 people dead.

Manuel was particularly vicious in Guerrero's mountains, triggering a major landslide that buried much of a village, leaving scores missing.