Sandra becomes Category 2 hurricane in eastern Pacific

MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Sandra has strengthened to a Category 2 storm as it swirls off Mexico’s Pacific coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says it’s the strongest hurricane in the eastern Pacific for this late in the year.

Forecasters also say it’s expected to strengthen even more in the next 24 hours, and could become a major hurricane later in the day or on Thursday.

The hurricane’s maximum sustained winds increased early Wednesday to near 100 mph (161 kph).

Sandra is centered about 560 miles (901 kilometers) southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, and is moving west-northwest near 10 mph (16 kph).

It’s expected to turn toward the northwest later Wednesday, followed by a northward turn on Thursday.

Forecasters say it currently does not pose a threat to land.

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