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Blas becomes hurricane in Pacific off southwestern Mexico

Blas becomes hurricane in Pacific off southwestern Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Blas, the second named storm of the eastern Pacific season, strengthened from a tropical storm Wednesday as it moved off the Pacific coast of southwestern Mexico, though it wasn’t expected to pose a threat to land.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Blas would strengthen a bit more, but would likely begin weakening late in the week as it headed out into the open ocean.

The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph) Wednesday night. It was centered about 250 miles (405 kilometers) south of the Mexican port of Manzanillo and was moving to the west-northwest at 6 mph (9 kph).

The hurricane center said that even though Blas wasn’t forecast to make landfall, it could still cause dangerous surf conditions along Mexico's coast.

The Pacific season’s first named storm, Hurricane Agatha, came ashore near Puerto Angel in Oaxaca state on May 30 with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph). Authorities said flooding and mudslides caused by Agatha’s heavy rains killed at least nine people, with five others missing and suspected to be dead.