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Hurricane Frank leaves death, destruction behind as it moves offshore

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Four deaths occurred in southern Mexico's Oaxaca state
  • NEW: Two mudslides were responsible for the fatalities
  • NEW: Frank is headed toward a remote island housing a Mexican naval base
  • Frank has become the third hurricane in the Pacific Ocean in 2010

(CNN) -- Four people died and at least 30,000 residents in southern Mexico were affected by heavy rain and winds from the former Tropical Storm Frank, which intensified into a hurricane Wednesday morning as it moved out into the Pacific Ocean, the government-run Notimex news agency said.

The deaths and damage occurred in Oaxaca state, on Mexico's Pacific coast, Notimex said.

A mudslide in the municipality of Totontepec Villa de Morelos killed two farm workers, the news agency said. A mudslide in another part of Oaxaca caused at least six vehicles to drive off Federal Highway 182, leading to another two deaths, Notimex said.

Late Wednesday morning, Hurricane Frank was bearing sustained winds of 75 mph, barely above the threshold for a Category 1 hurricane (74 to 95 mph), according to the National Hurricane Center. But forecasters warned that "additional strengthening is possible during the next day or two."

Frank was moving to the west-northwest at about 10 mph, away from shore. According to the tracking map on the hurricane center's website, Frank poses little to no threat to the mainland, but the center said it could pass near Socorro Island by Friday. Socorro, one of the four Revillagigedo Islands, houses about 250 people on a Mexican naval station. The island is about 250 miles south-southwest of the tip of the Baja California peninsula.

Frank is the third hurricane in the Pacific Ocean this year, following Hurricane Celia and Hurricane Darby.