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Pacific hurricane becomes a Category 3 storm as it nears Mexico

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 16, 2012 -- Updated 1542 GMT (2342 HKT)
Hurricane Paul brushes past Baja California at 10:30 ET on Tuesday.
Hurricane Paul brushes past Baja California at 10:30 ET on Tuesday.
  • Storm is in Pacific, churning toward Baja California
  • Forecasters predict it will near land on Tuesday
  • The hurricane will weaken as it approaches land, hurricane center says

(CNN) -- The government of Mexico issued a hurricane warning Monday for parts of the west coast of Baja California as Hurricane Paul became a major storm, the U.S. hurricane center said.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said hurricane conditions are expected to affect a stretch of coast from Santa Fe, Mexico, to Puerto San Andresito on Tuesday afternoon.

As of 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Hurricane Paul had maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph) but forecasters predict it will weaken on Tuesday as it skirts the coast.

The eye of the storm is 360 miles (580 kilometers) from the southern tip of the peninsula, the center said. The storm is moving toward the north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph).

Some areas may see as much as 8 inches of rain, forecasters predicted.

The same region was hit by Hurricane Jimena three years ago. Jimena reached Category 4 status before striking land as a Category 1.

On its current path, Paul should pass to the west of the popular tourist destination of Los Cabos on the southern tip of the peninsula.

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