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Blas becomes a hurricane in the Pacific off southwestern Mexico


MEXICO CITY – Hurricane Blas, the eastern Pacific’s second named storm of the season, strengthened to a tropical storm on Wednesday as it moved off the Pacific coast of southern Mexico, although it is not meant to pose a threat to the earth.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Blas will strengthen a bit more, but likely start to weaken this weekend as it heads into the open ocean.

The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 km/h) by mid-afternoon Wednesday. It was centered about 280 miles (450 kilometers) south-southeast of the Mexican port of Manzanillo and was moving west-northwest at 6 mph (9 km/h).

The hurricane center said that even if Blas weren’t to make landfall, it could still cause dangerous surf conditions along Mexico’s southwest coast.

The first named storm of the Pacific season, Hurricane Agatha, made landfall near Puerto Angel in Oaxaca state on May 30 with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 km/h). Authorities said flooding and mudslides caused by heavy rains from Agatha had killed at least nine people, and five others were missing and believed to be dead.

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