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Hurricane Paula strengthens as it targets Mexico

Satellite image of the Caribbean on Sunday as Paula forms
Satellite image of the Caribbean on Sunday as Paula forms

Lisa Varano, staff writer

October 12, 2010 — Tropical Storm Paula strengthened into the 9th hurricane of the Atlantic season Tuesday morning. The system is now targeting Cancun, Mexico.

Paula could take direct aim at Cancun, Mexico
Paula could take direct aim at Cancun, Mexico

Paula, the 16th named storm of the busy Atlantic hurricane season, formed on Sunday off the coast of Honduras. It quickly strengthened into a tropical storm, and then became the 9th named hurricane of the year on Tuesday morning.

The storm is expected to skirt Mexico over the next couple of days, and officials in Cancun are already bracing for impact.

“We hope this meteorological phenomenon is not very strong, but we are taking precautions so that we don't have to come desperately in the middle of the storm to see what can be done. We have taken the boats out of the water and we are prepared,” said tourist operator Leonidas Hernandez.

Hurricane warnings have been issued for parts of the Yucatan Peninsula. Paula is expected to produce strong winds, heavy rain, and dangerous storm surge. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says these conditions could produce life threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Cruise ships set to arrive in Cozumel on Wednesday could be diverted if Paula makes landfall.

On Monday, Paula swept through Honduras as a tropical storm. It produced winds strong enough to knock over trees, destroying more than a dozen wooden houses in remote coastal towns.

To stay updated on the current storm situation, head to our Tropical Storm Centre.

With files from Andrea Stockton and Lyndsay Morrison

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