Hurricane Allen, with winds of 175 m.p.h. bore down on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Thursday, forcing thousands to flee. The storm's strength increased as it roared into open water away from the Caribbean islands it passed over earlier this week, and a forecaster at the National Hurricane Center said it could hit the United States by early Saturday.
"It is heading into the Gulf and has to make landfall sometime," he said. "When it does it will most likely affect the western Gulf -- the Texas coast or upper Mexican Gulf coast."
At least 52 people have been killed, and thousands of others are homeless as a result of the storm, which is one of the mightiest on record.