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Hurricane Norbert slides up Baja coast, may bring rain to Southwest US

This NOAA satellite image taken Friday, September 05, 2014 at 02:00 AM EDT shows Hurricane Norbert over the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. Rain showers with a few thunderstorms have developed along a frontal boundary across the Four Corners and into the Central Plains. (AP PHOTO/WEATHER UNDERGROUND)

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This NOAA satellite image taken Friday, September 05, 2014 at 02:00 AM EDT shows Hurricane Norbert over the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. Rain showers with a few thunderstorms have developed along a frontal boundary across the Four Corners and into the Central Plains. (AP PHOTO/WEATHER UNDERGROUND)

LOS CABOS, Mexico - Hurricane Norbert dumped heavy rains and prompted evacuations as it marched up the coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula on Friday. Forecasters said the storm may help bring weekend precipitation to the parched U.S. Southwest.

Baja California Sur state Gov. Marcos Covarrubias urged people in vulnerable areas to evacuate and said travellers should stay off highways as the storm roars past. He said most government services would be closed or restricted, and schools in Los Cabos and La Paz were closed on Friday.

At least 1,000 people remained in shelters Friday afternoon in Los Cabos, where the storm toppled over trees and knocked out electricity in some parts of the resort area. Firefighters rescued several people from vehicles stranded in flooded streets, said Wenceslao Pettit, Public Safety director in Cabo San Lucas.

Ports in the area popular with U.S. tourists remained closed to navigation and police officers were sent to the evacuated neighbourhoods to prevent looting, Pettit added.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Friday afternoon that Norbert had maximum sustained winds near 90 mph (150 kph) and it was centred about 85 miles (135 kilometres) south of sparsely populated Cabo San Lazaro.

Forecasters said Norbert, which had reached hurricane strength Wednesday, was headed northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).

The Hurricane Center said Norbert was helping push moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Dolly across northern Mexico and into the southwestern United States, brining possible heavy rains in coming days.

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