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Hurricane Ignacio stalls, dumps rain on Baja

Further weakening is expected

This satellite image shows Ignacio's position as of 4:15 p.m. EDT on Monday.
This satellite image shows Ignacio's position as of 4:15 p.m. EDT on Monday.

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Hurricane Ignacio
At 11 p.m. EDT Monday
Latitude: 24.5 degrees north
Longitude: 110.6 degrees west Position: 25 miles NNW of La Paz, Mexico
Top sustained winds: near 75 mph
Next advisory: 2 a.m. EDT
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Ignacio
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(CNN) -- Hurricane Ignacio, which at one time threatened to slam Baja California as a Category 3 storm, weakened further Monday and stalled off the peninsula's east coast, dumping heavy rain on Mexico's main wine-producing region.

The National Hurricane Center warned of "extreme" rainfall totals of at least 20 inches in the warning area. The rain could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, forecasters said.

At 11 p.m. EDT, Ignacio's center was located near La Paz, Mexico, in southern Baja California, the hurricane center said. The storm's top sustained winds decreased to near 75 mph [120 kph] -- after reaching 105 mph [168 kph] Sunday.

A Category 3 hurricane has winds between 111 and 130 mph [178 and 208 kph].

The eastern Pacific's first hurricane of the 2003 season is expected to resume a slow west-northwestward motion overnight, but forecasters also said the system is expected to weaken to a tropical storm Monday night.

Baja California has been a wine-producing region since Spanish missionaries planted grapes there in the 1700s. The region produces 90 percent of Mexico's wine.

The Mexican government issued hurricane warnings for the southern Baja California peninsula from south of San Evaristo on the east coast and south of Bahia Magdalena on the west coast.

All tropical storm warnings that had been in effect for the coast of mainland Mexico are canceled.

Warnings continued for the southern Baja California peninsula from Loreto to San Evaristo, and from Puerto San Andresito to Bahia Magdalena.

The NHC said the slow-moving storm would dump heavy rain in the warning areas, and the accompanying storm surge would bring coastal flooding -- near and to the north of center -- of three to five feet above normal, along with "dangerous, battering waves."

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Ignacio will eventually dissipate in its run up the narrow Gulf of California.

"We could even see some moisture in parts of Arizona and New Mexico," he said. "That could take a while, though."


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