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Tropical Storm Sandra is strengthening rapidly

Tropical Storm Sandra is strengthening rapidly in the eastern Pacific. Hurricane forecasters are recommending that communities in the southern sector of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula keep an eye on the storm’s development.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm could become a hurricane later Tuesday night. Initially forecasters thought it wouldn’t reach hurricane strength until Wednesday.

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The storm’s maximum sustained winds late Tuesday afternoon were 65 mph (100 kph). The storm was centered about 780 miles (1,255 kms) southeast of the southern tip of Baja California and about 525 miles (850 kms) south-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. It was moving west-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).

There are currently no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

UPDATE: Hurricane Sandra is now a category 3 storm and the coast of Jalisco is under alert for possible heavy rain and surf. Read the latest on Hurricane Sandra