Tropical Storm Sonia makes its way toward Mexican coast

MEXICO CITY -- Officials on Mexico's storm-struck Pacific coast braced on Sunday for the possibility of heavy rains with the arrival of fast-moving Tropical Storm Sonia, which was projected to hit the mainland by early today.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sonia was centered about 95 miles south of the tip of the Baja California and 170 miles south-southwest of Culiacan on Sunday evening.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and it was heading north-northeast at 17 mph. Sonia could weaken some before coming ashore, and was likely to dissipate rapidly once over land.

Ismael Checa Landeros, civil defense director for Sinaloa, the state in the storm's path, said it was likely to hit near Culiacan, Navolato and Elota, all areas hit in September by Hurricane Manuel.

The government of Sinaloa state said school classes were canceled for today in five municipalities that could be affected by the storm. Sixty shelters were being opened in case anyone had to evacuate their homes.

Checa said officials were on alert but had not yet decided if anyone would need to be evacuated.

In the resort town of Los Cabos in Baja California, officials opened a shelter for possible evacuees and said the port had been closed to small craft.

The U.S. hurricane center said the storm could produce up to 6 inches of rainfall in Sinaloa and Durango states, with isolated areas getting as much as 10 inches.