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Hurricane Rina Barrels Towards Cozumel, Could Hit US

  • This image provided by NASA show Hurrican Rina, bottom center, acquired at 12:31 a.m. EDT Wednesday Oct. 26, 2011. Rina's maximum sustained winds remained steady at about 110 mph (175 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, making it a Category 2 storm. Forecasters predict it will strengthen as it nears the Mexican coast Wednesday night before rolling over the island of Cozumel, a popular dive spot and cruise-ship port, then along the coast to Cancun. (AP Photo/NASA)

    This image provided by NASA show Hurrican Rina, bottom center, acquired at 12:31 a.m. EDT Wednesday Oct. 26, 2011. Rina's maximum sustained winds remained steady at about 110 mph (175 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, making it a Category 2 storm. Forecasters predict it will strengthen as it nears the Mexican coast Wednesday night before rolling over the island of Cozumel, a popular dive spot and cruise-ship port, then along the coast to Cancun. (AP Photo/NASA)  (AP2011)

  • People stand in line to check-in at the international airport ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Rina in Cancun, Mexico, Wednesday Oct. 26, 2011.  Authorities evacuated fishing communities and closed schools on Mexico's resort-studded Caribbean coast while some tourists began to leave as Hurricane Rina took aim at Cancun and the island of Cozumel on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Israel Leal)

    People stand in line to check-in at the international airport ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Rina in Cancun, Mexico, Wednesday Oct. 26, 2011. Authorities evacuated fishing communities and closed schools on Mexico's resort-studded Caribbean coast while some tourists began to leave as Hurricane Rina took aim at Cancun and the island of Cozumel on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Israel Leal)

  • Fishermen secure their boat in anticipation of Hurricane Rina's arrival in Cancun, Mexico, Tuesday Oct. 25, 2011. Mexican authorities set up emergency shelters and cruise ships shifted course on Tuesday as Rina strengthened off the Caribbean coast on a projected track that would carry it whirling through Cancun and the resort-filled Mayan Riviera, Mexico's most popular tourist destination. (AP Photo/Israel Leal)

    Fishermen secure their boat in anticipation of Hurricane Rina's arrival in Cancun, Mexico, Tuesday Oct. 25, 2011. Mexican authorities set up emergency shelters and cruise ships shifted course on Tuesday as Rina strengthened off the Caribbean coast on a projected track that would carry it whirling through Cancun and the resort-filled Mayan Riviera, Mexico's most popular tourist destination. (AP Photo/Israel Leal)  (AP2011)

Hurricane Rina continues barreling through the western Caribbean as a powerful category 2 storm. 

Rina still has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph and is moving slowly to the west-northwest at 5 mph. 

Tropical storm conditions are expected Wednesday in the Eastern Yucatán Peninsula and Cozumel. Hurricane conditions are expected Thursday. 

Because Rina is a slow-mover, a lot of rain will fall with the storm, about 8 to 16 inches. 

A storm surge of 5 to 7 feet will occur near the center and to the right of the center of the storm.

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The storm is not expected to intensify much further before landfall; however, it's still forecast to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane near the city on Cancún.

An additional question is whether Rina will impact the U.S.

An eventual turn toward the East is expected by Friday when the storm will have moved away from the Yucatán Peninsula. 

Because Rina is a small storm, great fluctuations in its strength can occur. Land interaction could greatly weaken the storm as well as strong wind shear over the Gulf of Mexico

A trough will dig into the eastern U.S. over next few days, which will help steer it to the east. The current forecast track has the storm weakening to a tropical storm and the center staying south of South Florida and North of Cuba this weekend. 

This is a very small area, though (about 90miles), so any slight fluctuation in this track and we could be looking at landfall in either landmass late in the weekend. 

Even if the center of the storm does not directly go over land, hurricane force winds extend up to 25 miles out from the center of the storm, with tropical storm force winds extending up to 115 miles out from the center. 

Rina's impacts could be felt for miles either way.

Maria Molina is a weather anchor for Fox News Channel.

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