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Raymond a hurricane off Mexico in Pacific: official

22 october 2013, 10:34
Tropical storm Raymond surged to hurricane force Sunday churning toward Mexico's Pacific coast, which is still recovering from a devastating tropical storm last month, AFP reports.

Raymond "has strengthened to a Category One storm on the (five-point) Saffir-Simpson scale south of the coasts of Guerrero and Michoacan" states, Mexico's National Weather Service said.

The storm could continue to strengthen as it heads closer to shore, the service warned.

Raymond was packing sustained winds of 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour, about 250 kilometers west-southwest of the tourist resort of Acapulco, the US National Hurricane Center said at 0000 GMT Monday.

It was headed north at 10 kilometers per hour.

Authorities issued a hurricane watch from Acapulco to the port city of Lazaro Cardenas, the NHC added.

In mid-September, Tropical Storm Manuel made landfall in Guerrero, while another weather system, Ingrid, slammed almost simultaneously into the opposite coast.

The two storms claimed 157 lives and left 1.7 million people homeless.

Their effects were felt across two thirds of the country, but hardest hit was Guerrero, where landslides partially buried a mountain community and 101 of the deaths were recorded.

The unusual double storm blast occurred during a holiday weekend, leaving thousands of tourists stranded in Acapulco when airports and highways were closed.

In Guerrero state alone, 5,000 people are still living in shelters due to the storm.

National Water Commission chief David Korenfeld said Mexico was on its way this year to breaking a record by being hit by eight named tropical storms or hurricanes -- four on each coast.

"And we are close to breaking the all-time record of nine named storm strikes in one year," which was in 2010, he added.

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