Raymond becomes major hurricane, menaces Mexico’s Pacific Coast

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(CNN) — Raymond quickly strengthened overnight, becoming a major hurricane off the southern Pacific Coast of Mexico.

The powerful Category 3 storm was about 160 miles (258 kilometers) west-southwest of Acapulco on Monday but was stationary as of the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. ET update.

“A slow and erratic motion is expected over the next day or so,” the update said, adding that Raymond is a small storm, with hurricane-force winds extending only 15 miles from the eye.

However, it had maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, with higher gusts. The threshold for a major hurricane is 111 mph.

“Some additional strengthening is possible during the next day or so,” forecasters said. “A storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding.”

Raymond is forecast to dump heavy rain along the south-central coast of Mexico, bringing 2 to 4 inches of rain, and there may be areas in Michoacan and Guerrero states that receive as much as 8 inches.

The storm is forecast to slowly close in on the coast through Tuesday, although it’s expected to take a sharp turn west before the eye of the storm reaches land, the National Hurricane Center said.

A hurricane warning has been issued from Tecpan de Galeana to Lazaro Cardenas. The warning means tropical storm-force winds are expected in the next 36 hours.

A hurricane watch is in place from Acapulco to Tecpan de Galeana, meaning hurricane conditions — winds of at least 74 mph — are expected within two days.

The south-central coast was hit hard by another storm in September. That storm, Manuel, triggered deadly mudslides and left about 40,000 tourists stranded in Acapulco, a popular tourist destination.

Meanwhile, another storm, now dubbed Tropical Depression 13, has formed in the Caribbean Sea and, at 11 a.m. ET, it was 650 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. It was moving to the northeast at 8 mph.

By Ed Payne

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