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Tropical Storm Simon heads toward hurricane status

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows category four Hurricane Odile taken at 5:45 a.m. EDT Sunday Sept. 14, 2014. The rapidly strengthening Hurricane Odile intensified Saturday night and appeared headed for a possible close brush with the southern end of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. At 5 a.m. EDT Odile had maximum sustained winds of 135 mph and was moving north-northwest at 15 mph. (AP Photo/NOAA)

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows category four Hurricane Odile taken at 5:45 a.m. EDT Sunday Sept. 14, 2014. The rapidly strengthening Hurricane Odile intensified Saturday night and appeared headed for a possible close brush with the southern end of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. At 5 a.m. EDT Odile had maximum sustained winds of 135 mph and was moving north-northwest at 15 mph. (AP Photo/NOAA)  (AP)

Tropical Storm Simon is expected to become a hurricane as it swirls in the Pacific off the coast of Mexico.

The storm's maximum sustained winds early Friday are near 50 mph (85 kph). Additional strengthening is forecast and the U.S. National Hurricane Center says Simon could become a hurricane by Saturday morning.

Simon is centered about 325 miles (520 kilometers) south-southeast of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula and is moving west near 7 mph (11 kph).

Simon is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches through Friday night in western Mexico and is also generating swells on the coast that could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

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