WEATHER

Hurricane Rick gathers strength off Mexico

Hurricane Rick has strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category Four storm threatening Mexico's Pacific coast, the US National Hurricane Center has warned.

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AFP - Hurricane Rick churned in the Pacific Ocean Saturday strengthening to an "extremely dangerous" Category Four storm, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Rick was gathering strength off Mexico's Pacific coast, with maximum sustained winds roaring at near 135 miles (215 kilometers) per hour.

At 1015 GMT, Rick's center was 255 miles (410 km) southwest of the resort town of Acapulco, southern Mexico.

The hurricane was moving toward the west-northwest near 12 miles (19 km) per hour, according to the Miami-based center.

It was expected to begin make a sharp turn north by Tuesday, cutting toward Mexico's Baja Peninsula.

US forecasters said residents should monitor the hurricane's progress.

The center said outer rainbands associated with the storm were already approaching Mexico's southern coast and would likely continue to affect the area on Saturday.

The seventh hurricane of the eastern north Pacific 2009 season, Rick comes on the heels of Tropical Storm Patricia, which last week placed Los Cabos on Baja's southern tip under a state of emergency, before petering out.

The peninsula was battered in early September by Hurricane Jimena, which ripped the roofs off houses and caused floods that killed at least one person.
 

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