(Photo: The Weather Channel)
Hurricane Rina, which is expected to hit Mexico by Thursday, passed the coast of Honduras Wednesday and is headed towards Yucatan peninsula, according to The Weather Channel's Hurricane Central.
After losing most of its force over Mexico as forecast, Rina might end up reaching southern Florida and staying in the area over the weekend, where it will likely weaken into a tropical storm, experts say.
"Rina's small size means it is impossible today to specify which, if any, land areas on Yucatan will receive hurricane conditions," the channel's hurricane expert, Dr. Rick Knabb, stated on the website.
After the hurricane passes the peninsula, Rina is expected to weaken, due to increasing wind shear and potential clash with land. Then it will "very slowly" turn to the north and eventually east during the next several days, experts report. Next, as the hurricane moves north and east, it is expected to pass Cuba and possibly reach southern Florida.
"Weakening could be more rapid if Rina spends much time over Yucatan, since it is a small hurricane and would be more susceptible to wind shear afterward," Knabb predicts.
The Weather Channel recommended to the residents of southern Florida Wednesday to closely monitor hurricane updates. Experts have also described Rina as "relatively broad and weak, and producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms."
The hurricane was close to reaching a Category 3, CNN reported Wednesday. Currently the wind gusts reach 135 mph, according to the network. The hurricane is moving with a velocity of 4 mph.
Brief periods of heavy rains were predicted for Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and eastern Cuba over the next several days.
Rina is also expected to cause some damage to Mexican tourist resorts. According to Fox News, authorities evacuated fishing communities on Mexico's Caribbean coast Wednesday. Some tourists reportedly already began to leave.