Hurricane Dora strengthens off Mexico Pacific coast

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 21, 2011 11:39 AM
Hurricane Dora strengthens off Mexico Pacific coast

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hurricane Dora was close to becoming a Category 5 storm in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico Thursday although it was not close to land, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Dora, the fourth named storm of the Pacific hurricane season, churned 240 miles south of Cabo Corrientes on the coast of western Jalisco state with winds of 155 miles per hour, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

Dora would become a Category 5 hurricane, the top level on the Saffir-Simpson scale, if it reaches 156 mph.

Strong waves and winds lashed Mexico's coastline but all of the country's main Pacific ports were open Thursday.

Mexico has no major oil installations on its Pacific coast, but sugar- and coffee-growing cropland in southern states could be soaked.

The hurricane, while not expected to make landfall, is shadowing Mexico's Pacific coast as it travels northwest.

It is expected to begin weakening late Thursday and it will slow rapidly Friday, the center said.

Dora will cause large swells along the coast of southern Mexico in the next couple of days and may affect the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula later Thursday.

"These swells will likely cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," the center warned.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Vicki Allen and Eric Beech)