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Tourists Flee Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as Weakened Rina Nears

Tourists wait to check their documents at Cancun airport, Mexico, as they prepare to return home, October 26, 2011.

Thousands of tourists have left Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a weakening Hurricane Rina approaches the popular resort destination.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Rina could weaken into a tropical storm by the time it makes landfall over Yucatan later Thursday.

Rina's center was more than 100 kilometers south of the Mexican island of Cozumel early Thursday, with sustained winds of 120 kilometers an hour. It was moving slowly northwest. Mexican authorities suspended ferry services to Cozumel from the mainland resort of Playa del Carmen.

Tourists flocked Wednesday to the international airport near Cancun, trying to head home in advance of the storm. Some flights were canceled Thursday.

Authorities closed schools in the region and evacuated more than 2,300 people from Holbox, an island off Yucatan's northern coast.

In 2005, the Mexican region was devastated by Hurricane Wilma, which washed away most of Cancun's famous white-sand beaches.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.