Hurricane Bud lost some strength as it moved closer to Mexico's Pacific Coast and was forecast to hit land south of the popular tourist town of Puerto Vallarta Friday night, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Bud weakened overnight from a powerful Category 3 storm, but it's dangerous as a Category 2 with 110 mph winds. And it's expected to dump heavy rains in several states in western Mexico, threatening floods and landslides.
The government of Jalisco state prepared hundreds of cots and dozens of heavy vehicles like bulldozers that could be needed to move debris.
Officials in Puerto Vallarta said they were in close contact with managers of the hundreds of hotels in the city in case tourists needed to move to eight emergency shelters. It said the sea along the city's famous beachfront was calm, but swimming had been temporarily banned as a precaution.
At Mexico's largest Pacific port of Manzanillo, skies were overcast and rainy before the forecast landfall.
The hurricane is the Pacific's first of the 2012 season.
"Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the hurricane warning area this afternoon," the center said in an advisory.
Located about 105 miles southwest of Manzanillo, the hurricane was moving north-northeast at around 8 mph and Mexico's government issued a hurricane watch along the coast from Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes.
Bud is expected to soak the states of Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco and southern Nayarit with around 6 to 8 inches of rain.
In some places, the storm could dump as much as 15 inches of rain.
"These rainfall amounts could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the center said. "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion."
Most of Mexico's oil platforms and exporting ports are in the Gulf of Mexico and affected by storms in the Atlantic, where forecasters are expecting a "near normal" hurricane season this year with up to 15 tropical storms and four to eight hurricanes.