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Hurricane Patricia Nears Mexico, Could Strengthen to Category 5

Hurricane Patricia Strengthens Into Dangerous Category Four 1:33

MEXICO CITY — Hurricane Patricia strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm on Thursday as it churned toward Mexico's Pacific coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The storm, which became a hurricane overnight, had maximum sustained winds of about 150 miles per hour as it moved toward the northwest at 13 mph. It could intensify to a Category 5 storm, the NHC added.

Image: Hurricane Patricia
Hurricane Patricia strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm on Thursday as it churned toward Mexico's Pacific coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. NOAA

Patricia was last located about 225 miles south of the port of Manzanillo, where a hurricane warning had been issued. A hurricane warning was also in effect for the tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta.

The storm could gain more strength before making landfall in the hurricane warning area by Friday afternoon or evening, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

The projected path of the hurricane as of Thursday afternoon. National Hurricane Center

The United States government issued an advisory urging its nationals to steer clear of beaches and rough seas, and to take shelter as instructed by Mexican officials.

Mexican emergency officials began to prepare shelters and warned people in the states of Colima, Jalisco and Michoacan to get ready for torrential rainfalls.

None of the major installations of Mexican state oil giant Pemex lie in the projected path of the storm, officials said.