U.S. weather forecasters say Hurricane Jimena has weakened as it bears down on Mexico's Baja California peninsula, threatening vacation resorts and forcing the evacuations of thousands of people.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Tuesday that Jimena's winds had dropped to 205 kilometers per hour.  Earlier, the storm's winds were blowing at 215 kilometers per hour.  Jimena was about 175 kilometers southwest of Cabo San Lucas.

As the hurricane barreled toward the peninsula, Mexican police, firefighters and military personnel drove through shantytowns, trying to persuade some 10,000 people to evacuate shacks made of plastic sheeting, wood, reeds and blankets.  

Forecasters say Jimena could make landfall over the southern portion of Baja California Tuesday night or Wednesday.  They warn that a dangerous storm surge, along with large and dangerous battering waves, will produce significant coastal flooding.

Separately, forecasters are watching a new tropical storm, Erika, which has formed in the open Atlantic east of the northern Leeward Islands.  The storm was located about 625 kilometers east of the islands and governments across the area issued tropical storm watches.

The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and ends November 30.

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