Hurricane Rina Projected Path: Storm Blasts Mexican Coast; Residents Forced to Evacuate

Tropical Storm Rina ripped through Mexico's Caribbean coast with strong winds and rain Friday forcing the Navy to evacuate residents who refused to leave the storm's path.

Rina was originally predicted to be a Category 3 hurricane, but the storm weakened to a tropical storm as it approached the coast of Mexico.

The Mexican Navy sent ships to evacuate some 80 people who refused to leave low-lying areas. Prior to the storm, around 2,300 people were evacuated out of Holbox, an island in the storm’s path. The Mexican government shut down sites located near the coast and schools were closed in surrounding communities.

The storm's winds were recorded at 70 mph Friday, down from 75 mph Thursday and 115 mph Wednesday.

Playa de Carmen, a resort town near Cozumel, lost electricity as a result of the storm. The town also set up shelters prior to the storm to help people whose houses were damaged or had lost power.

Juan Carlos Gonzalez Hernandez, the state's tourism director, approximated that 10,000 tourists had left by Wednesday night. A majority of flights out of Cancun were canceled Thursday while thousands of tourists still remained.

Some decided to stay and try to bear the storm.

"We would prefer to lie on the beach and get in the ocean, but right now all we can do is walk around and go shopping," said Vera Kohler, a tourist from Germany. She arrived in Playa Del Carmen Wednesday and plans to stay in the area until Sunday.

Tourist Domenico Cianni said he stocked up on food and beer and put shutters on the windows of his rental home.

"We were curious about what's happening. We wanted to be part of the action," he told the Associated Press.

At least eight cruise ships have changed course away from the storm, according to a Carnival Cruise Line spokesman.

The United States Hurricane Center said the storm would bring rain across the area for the next few days. It is expected to move along the coast towards Central America as it weakens.