* Category 1 storm makes landfall near Puerto Escondido
* Hurricane far south G20 summit location at Los Cabos
* Pacific coast oil refinery not affected
By Mica Rosenberg
ACAPULCO, Mexico, June 15 (Reuters) - Hurricane Carlotta made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast near the southern city of Puerto Escondido late on Friday, unleashing heavy rain and gusts of winds as far as the resort city of Acapulco, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Carlotta, the third named storm of the Pacific hurricane season, had escalated throughout the afternoon into a Category 2 hurricane but weakened into Category 1 storm as it hit coastal mountains in the state of Oaxaca.
As it made landfall at 9 p.m. EDT, it had winds of nearly 90 mph (145 kph) with higher gusts. It was about 10 miles (15 km) northwest of Puerto Escondido and about 190 miles (310 km) southeast of the tourist city of Acapulco.
The Mexican government had issued a hurricane warning from Punta Maldonado to Acapulco, where winds started to pick up on Friday afternoon. State oil company Pemex took preventative measures, but by late morning, the eye of the storm had passed north of its biggest refinery, the 330,000 barrel-per-day Salinas Cruz. The installation was operating normally.
The hurricane’s path is far from the Baja California resort of Los Cabos, where the Group of 20 leaders of top economies are convening on Monday and Tuesday. Authorities said they did not expect Carlotta to make much of an impact and that the airport remained open.
In Acapulco, local government spokeswoman Maribel Helguera had said they were preparing for heavy rains but there was no sign of residents boarding up windows.
“Officials are visiting danger zones at risk from mudslides in the highlands to tell people the storm is coming and where to seek shelter if need be,” she said.
Acapulco Mayor Veronica Escobar said there are 112 shelters in the state of Guerrero.
By Friday evening, lightning and heavy rain could be seen in the resort city. However, some tourists were still on the beach under the showers.
“You see guests still swimming because the climate is so good that even when there is a hurricane and heavy rains it is still warm,” said Mary Bertha Media, president of Acapulco’s hotel association.
In neighboring Oaxaca, state weather officials reported moderate to heavy rainfall across the area. They said they had not yet ordered residents to evacuate or to suspend school.
The sun-drenched area last was hit by a hurricane in 1997, when Pauline made landfall near Puerto Angel, causing torrential rains, flooding and mudslides in two of Mexico’s poorest states. Hundreds died and thousands were left homeless. The hurricane caused more than $400 million in damage.
In 2002, Hurricane Kenna hit south of Los Cabos while the city was hosting an international meeting of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group. Strong winds from Kenna knocked over the main tent at the event where world leaders were set to attend a gala dinner. No one was injured.
Kenna hit land 300 miles (482 km) south of Los Cabos in 2002. Carlotta is expected to strike the coast much farther away.