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Hurricane Norma rapidly strengthens on a path toward Los Cabos in Mexico

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Hurricane Norma has strengthened to a major storm as it spins off Mexico’s Pacific coast on a path expected to bring it near Los Cabos at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula

MEXICO CITY -- Hurricane Norma strengthened to a major storm Thursday as it spun off Mexico’s Pacific coast on a path expected to bring it near Los Cabos at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that Norma had 130 mph (215 kph) maximum sustained winds and was located about 410 miles (655 kilometers) south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas. The Category 4 storm was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph).

Norma was expected to begin weakening Friday and into the weekend as it neared land. It remained unclear if it would make landfall at Los Cabos, made up of the twin resorts of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, or veer off beforehand and hit Mexico’s Sinaloa state to the east.

The southern Baja California Peninsula was under a hurricane watch.

Hurricane specialist John Cangialosi with the U.S. National Hurricane Center said that Norma’s forecast was challenging. The storm was expected to continue moving north into Saturday, but then slow to a crawl “and should be just kind of hanging out near the southern portion of the Baja California Peninsula.”

The concerns, especially if it slowed rather than passing quickly, were significant winds and heavy rain, he said.

In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Tammy was 425 miles (680 kilometers) east-southeast of the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and moving west-northwest at 15 mph (24 kph). Tammy had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). A hurricane watch was in effect for Guadeloupe, which is a French overseas department.

Tammy was forecast to strengthen gradually as it moved toward the Leeward Islands this weekend and could reach hurricane strength by Saturday as it passes Barbuda and St. Martin.

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