Tropical storm Cristina strengthened into a category 1 hurricane on Wednesday as it moved away from Mexico's Pacific coast, prompting authorities to warn of heavy rains in the Latin American nation.
Cristina was located about 265 miles (425 kilometers) south of the port of Manzanillo with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kilometers per hour) and higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said early Wednesday.
The hurricane was expected to gain strength, as it moved at a speed of 6 miles per hour westward, unlikely to make landfall.
Within the next 36-48 hours, sustained winds could reach 100 m.p.h., says the National Hurricane Center:
The environment in which Cristina is embedded remains ideal for intensification. The cyclone is located underneath a mid- to upper-
level ridge axis and over very warm waters. The inner core structure has also become better defined, with the closed ring seen in microwave imagery signaling that rapid intensification is a possibility. The NHC forecast is adjusted upward in the short term based on current trends, and thee is some potential for Cristina to become stronger than forecast. In about 60 hours, Cristina should encounter increasing southwesterly shear associated with an upper-level trough extending southwestward from California coast and should reach markedly cooler waters in about 4 days. Thisshould result in a pronounced weakening trend at the end of the forecast period and perhaps a quick demise.
Mexican authorities warned of rising rivers and mudslides caused in Southern and Western Mexican states including Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco.
Cristina could cause waves of up to four meters high in coastal areas, the National Weather Service said in a statement.
Guerrero, home of beach resort Acapulco, last year was severely affected by dual storms Ingrid and Manuel, whose unprecedented rainfall killed over 150 people. (Reporting By ; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)