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Beatriz swells to season's second Pacific hurricane

21 june 2011, 15:06
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Tropical Storm Beatriz strengthening in the Eastern Pacific. ©AFP PHOTO/HO/NOAA
Tropical Storm Beatriz strengthening in the Eastern Pacific. ©AFP PHOTO/HO/NOAA
Beatriz swelled to become the second Pacific hurricane of the season late Monday as it churned towards Mexico, bringing heavy rains to the west coast, AFP reports, citing the US National Weather Service.

"The center of the hurricane will be moving very near or over the coast of Mexico in the hurricane warning area overnight... and moving away from the coast by late Tuesday," its National Hurricane Center said in a statement.

The eye of the storm was 85 miles (140 kilometers) southeast of the coastal town of Manzanillo at 8:00 pm Pacific time (0300 GMT Tuesday) and was moving northwest at a speed of 12 miles per hour (19 kilometers per hour), it said.

The storm was packing wind speeds of 75 miles per hour (120 kilometers per hour) as it brought heavy rains and flooding, with the hurricane warning zone extending along Mexico's west coast from Zihuatanejo to Cabo Corrientes.

In the resort city of Acapulco, winds hit 62 miles (100 kilometers) per hour earlier in the day as Beatriz, then a tropical storm, tore down trees and wounded one bystander, local authorities said.

In the Guerrero mountains, heavy rains caused avalanches and flooded roads.

The hurricane season, which runs from June through November, will likely bring 12 to 18 named tropical storms in the Atlantic zone, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA forecasts an elevated threat this year to the United States and Caribbean nations, and predicts three to six major storms of Category three intensity or higher on the five-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.

Adrian, the first Pacific hurricane of the 2011 season, was downgraded to a tropical storm over a week ago.

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