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Hurricane Jimena Weakens Over Baja California

A weakening Hurricane Jimena is battering Mexico's Baja California peninsula, where thousands of residents and stranded tourists have taken shelter from the storm.

Forecasters downgraded the strength of the storm for the second time on Wednesday as it bore down on the peninsula. The storm is now at Category One on the five-level scale that measures a hurricane's intensity and potential for destruction.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Jimena is moving along the west coast of the peninsula with maximum sustained winds of 145 kilometers per hour. The storm is expected to weaken further but still remain at hurricane strength as it moves through central portions of Baja California on Thursday.

Forecasters expect 12 to 25 centimeters of rain over the southern half of the Baja Peninsula and portions of western Mexico during the next two days, and the National Hurricane Center is warning of possible life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

A state of emergency has been declared in Baja California's Sur state, where thousands of impoverished residents have fled to emergency shelters to ride out the storm.

In the Atlantic Ocean, meanwhile, forecasters are keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Erika, which formed east of the northern Leeward Islands. The storm's winds have decreased to 65 kilometers per hour, from 75 kilometers per hour, as it approaches Guadeloupe.