Hurricane Marie intensifies to category four off Mexico

Hurricane Marie intensifies to category four off Mexico
This image taken from NASA/GOES Project shows Hurricane Marie on August 23, 2014.

MEXICO CITY - Hurricane Marie rapidly intensified Sunday in the Pacific Ocean, becoming a category four event, forecasters said, as six Mexican states braced for torrential rain and dangerous waves.

Marie, the eighth hurricane of the eastern Pacific season, was packing maximum sustained winds of 135 miles (215 kilometers) per hour, according to the 0900 GMT bulletin from the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The centre said the storm could continue to gain strength over the next day or two.

Marie was far from land - some 470 miles south of Mexico's Baja California peninsula - and no storm watches or warnings were in effect for the coast.

However, the NHC said portions of Mexico's southwestern coast were already seeing powerful waves as a result of Marie, and the impact was likely to spread toward the southern Baja California peninsula and the Gulf of California as the storm moves to the northwest.

"These swells are likely to cause extremely dangerous life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," the forecasters warned.

In Mexico, the national weather service said Saturday heavy rains threatened the states of Michoacan, Colima, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Nayarit, warning they could trigger mudslides and cause rivers to overflow their banks.

It urged the millions of people living in those states to "exercise caution" and to stay tuned for updates.

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