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Hilary strengthens into a major hurricane, Ophelia weakens


Hilary strengthens into a major hurricane
Hilary strengthens into a major hurricane

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

September 23, 2011 — Hilary strengthened into a major hurricane, while Ophelia continues to weaken in the Atlantic.

Ophelia continues to weaken
Ophelia continues to weaken

Hurricane Hilary in the Pacific

Hilary gained tropical storm status Wednesday morning and continued to pick up steam in the eastern Pacific. Throughout the day on Thursday, the storm gradually strengthened and became a major hurricane.

“Within only 24 hours, Hilary went from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane,” said Rob Davis, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) say the hurricane is not forecast to make landfall, but could still bring heavy rain to parts of Mexico.

Government officials have issued tropical storm watches and warnings which stretch from west of Acapulco to Punta San Telmo. Up to 130 mm of rain is expected to fall across southern Mexico, with locally higher amounts possible.

Dangerous swells are also affecting parts of the coast and could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Tropical Storm Ophelia in the Atlantic

Tropical Storm Ophelia continues to weaken in the Atlantic and currently poses no threat to land. No coastal watches or warnings have been issued.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a busy hurricane season for the Atlantic this year. According to the updated seasonal outlook , between 14 and 19 storms are possible, with up to 10 of them gaining hurricane status.

Meanwhile, Mexico's weather commission predicted 14 named storms for the Pacific.

Visit The Weather Network's Tropical Storm Centre for any updates on the 2011 hurricane season.

With files from Lyndsay Morrison

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