Strengthening Hurricane Odile Targets Mexico's Baja California Peninsula

Rapidly strengthening Hurricane Odile further intensified Sunday morning and was swirling over the Pacific as a major storm expected to make a close brush with the southern portion of Mexico's Baja California peninsula by nightfall.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Odile became a powerful Category 4 hurricane before dawn Sunday. Odile's core was predicted to stay out in the Pacific, but it was following a track that was forecast to take the storm's edge very close or even over Baja's southern end by Sunday night and into Monday.

The storm's maximum sustained winds had increased to 135 (215 kph) Sunday morning. It was centered about 225 miles (360 kilometers) west of Manzanillo, Mexico and 285 mils (460 kilometers) south-southeast of the southern tip of Baja California. Odile was moving to the north-northwest at 15 mph (24 kph).

Mexican officials posted hurricane warnings northward along the west coast of Baja California from Puerto San Andresito to La Paz, and along the east coast of the peninsula from north of La Paz to Loreto. High winds and dangerous surf were expected along the shore beginning Sunday, and heavy rains were possible for Baja and nearby mainland areas.

In the central Atlantic, Tropical Storm Edouard also gained strength and the U.S. center said it was close to becoming a hurricane by Sunday morning, although it is expected to remain far out at sea and pose no threat to land.

The center said Edouard had sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph) late Saturday. It was centered 950 miles (1,530 kilometers) east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands and moving northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).

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