Powerful Hurricane Raymond Churns Off Southwestern Mexico

Hurricane Raymond, a compact and powerful major storm, strengthened slightly in the Pacific near Acapulco as it brought heavy rain across southern Mexico, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Raymond has top winds of 125 miles (200 kilometers) per hour, up from 120 mph earlier, making it a Category 3 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. It has been moving erratically and as of 5 p.m. New York was stationary about 160 miles west-southwest of Acapulco.

“Regardless of the exact track of the hurricane and how close it gets to the coast, heavy rainfall will continue over south-central Mexico during the next few days, causing life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” Michael Brennan, a senior hurricane specialist at the center in Miami, said in a forecast analysis.

Mexico has been hit multiple times this season by hurricanes and tropical storms from both the Atlantic and Pacific that have killed more than 123 people and forced thousands from their homes.

A hurricane warning, meaning winds of at least 74 mph and crashing surf may arrive in 36 hours, has been posted from Tecpan de Galeana to Lazaro Cardenas, and a watch is in place from Acapulco to Tecpan de Galeana, according to the center.

Raymond is a small hurricane, with winds of at least 74 mph extending only 25 miles from its core. Tropical-storm-force winds of at least 39 mph reach out 80 miles, the center said.

Westward Turn

The system is expected to take a sharp turn west into the open Pacific the day after tomorrow, without going ashore. In the meantime, it’s forecast to bring 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain, with some areas receiving as much as 12 inches, along with “large and destructive waves” to the coast, the center said.

The center is also monitoring Tropical Storm Lorenzo, which formed today about 635 miles east-southeast of Bermuda with top winds of 40 mph. It is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 and poses no threat to land, the center said.

A system gets a name when its top winds reach 39 mph and it becomes a tropical storm.

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