The storm spent several hours as a category 5 hurricane before slipping back down to a borderline cat 4, weather forecasters say.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Lorenzo slipped back to Category 4 force in the central Atlantic Ocean after several hours as a Category 5 — which made it the strongest storm ever observed so far north and east in the Atlantic basin.
The National Hurricane Center said that the storm had maximum sustained winds of 145 mph (230 kph) on Sunday.
Lorenzo was moving north-northeast at 10 mph (17 kph) and was centered about 1,315 miles (2,115 kilometers) southwest of the Azores, a Portuguese island chain.
There were no coastal watches or warnings in effect, although forecasters expected the storm to remain strong as it approaches the Azores over the next few days, and it might eventually reach the Ireland or Britain at tropical storm force.
Officials said swells produced by the storm were affecting parts of the northeastern coast of South America and the Lesser Antilles.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Narda pounded the resort of Zihuatanejo Sunday after bringing heavy rains and flooding farther south along Mexico's Pacific coast.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm brushed past Zihuatanejo and was centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) northeast of the port of Lazaro Cardenas Sunday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph). It was moving to the northwest at 15 mph (24 kph) and the forecast track would keep it right along Mexico's Pacific coast in the coming days.
Local authorities reported flooded roads and rivers in Oaxaca state to the south, where thousands of people were evacuated as a precaution. The storm also toppled trees and billboards in Acapulco.
The Hurricane Center said Narda was expected to produce 5 to 10 inches (12.5 to 25 centimeters) of rainfall along the coast from Oaxaca to Nayarit — a stretch that includes Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta. Jalisco state suspended schools Monday in Puerto Vallarta and nearby flood-prone areas.