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Hurricane Patricia becomes a Category 4 storm as it nears Mexico’s Pacific coast

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Hurricane Patricia has rapidly strengthened into a major category four hurricane as it spirals closer to the Pacific coast of Mexico, forecasters say.

The National Hurricane Center said data from a Hurricane Hunter aircraft had indicated that Patricia’s maximum sustained winds had increased to near 130 miles (215 kilometers) per hour, with higher gusts. “Patricia is an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some additional strengthening is forecast through early Friday, and Patricia is expected to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through landfall,” the center said.

As of 1 p.m. CT on Thursday, the eye of Hurricane Patricia was located about 240 miles (385 kilometers) south-southwest of Lazaro Cardenas, a port city in the Mexican state of Michoacán. The storm is moving toward the west-northwest at a speed near 17 miles (28 kilometers) per hour, and this motion is expected to continue throughout Thursday, followed by a turn toward the northwest and then toward the north on Friday, which will move it closer to land.

Patricia is expected to make landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast on Friday.

A hurricane warning is in effect from Cabo Corrientes to Punta San Telmo. A hurricane watch is in effect from the east of Punta San Telmo to Lazaro Cardenas, and from the north of Cabo Corrientes to San Blas. A tropical storm warning is in effect from the east of Punta San Telmo to Lazaro Cardenas, and from the north of Cabo Corrientes to San Blas. A tropical storm watch is in effect from the east of Lazaro Cardenas to Tecpan De Galeana.

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