MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hurricane Bud was strengthening off Mexico's Pacific coast on Thursday, threatening to hit land on Friday near the shipping port of Manzanillo, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
The first hurricane off the Pacific coast this season, Bud is now a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, but could grow into a major hurricane later on Thursday. A major hurricane is a Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson intensity scale.
Mexico has no major oil installations on the Pacific coast in the storm's path.
Bud is expected to weaken again before making landfall on Friday, the center said. "Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the hurricane warning area by Friday afternoon," the Miami-based center said.
The storm was located about 225 miles southwest of Manzanillo, home to Mexico's largest Pacific port, and was moving northeast at around 9 mph, the center said.
The hurricane is expected to soak the states of Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco and southern Nayarit with around 4 to 6 inches of rain.
Mexico's government has begun a hurricane watch along the coast from Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes.
All Mexican ports on the Pacific coast remained open including Manzanillo, where the transport ministry said the weather was calm with cloudy skies.
Most of Mexico's oil platforms and exporting ports are in the Gulf of Mexico and affected by storms in the Atlantic, where forecasters are expecting a "near normal" hurricane season this year, with nine to 15 tropical storms and four to eight named hurricanes.
(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg, Dave Graham and David Alire Garcia; editing by Todd Eastham)