Hurricane Paul strengthens, threatens southern Baja California

Monday, October 23rd 2006, 8:52 am
By: News On 6

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Hurricane Paul neared Category 3 status Monday with winds as high as 110 mph as it began curving toward the Baja California peninsula.

Paul was moving northwest at about 5 mph. Forecasters predicted it would strengthen further and could hit Mexico's Pacific coast in the next few days.

A hurricane watch was issued for the southern tip of Baja California, a resort area that has been battered by two other hurricanes this season.

The storm was on a course that would bring it just south of the peninsula late Tuesday before plowing into Mexico's Pacific coast near the resort of Mazatlan.

At 11 a.m. EDT, the storm was about 455 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, known for deep-sea fishing and upscale hotels popular with Hollywood's elite. It had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, just one short of becoming a Category 3 storm.

Mexico was struck by two Pacific hurricanes last month. Hurricane John battered Baja California, killing five people and destroying 160 homes, while Hurricane Lane hit the resort town of Mazatlan, causing relatively minor damage.