Hurricane Blanca strengthens, closes in on Mexico's Pacific coast

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 06, 2015 11:56 AM

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hurricane Blanca strengthened into a category 4 storm on Saturday as it churned toward Mexico's Baja California peninsula, according to the latest update form the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Blanca, the second hurricane to form off Mexico's Pacific coast this year, is located about 360 miles (580 km) south of the tourist hub of Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the peninsula.

The hurricane features maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (215 km/h), and is expected to make landfall on Monday morning near the lightly-populated area of San Carlos, a small fishing village.

The NHC said that an Air Force reconnaissance plane was en route to the storm, which is expected to turn toward the north-northwest later on Saturday.

Some weakening is forecast for Sunday.

Blanca could produce rainfall of between 6 to 10 inches (15-25 cm) over much of Baja California, including the possibility of "life threatening flash floods and mudslides," the NHC added.

Last September, Hurricane Odile battered southern Baja California, wreaking havoc on Cabo San Lucas and stranding thousands of tourists.

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Toby Chopra)