Hurricane Hilary forms off Mexico’s Pacific coast as it heads north over the ocean

MEXICO CITY — Tropical Storm Hilary strengthened into a hurricane early Thursday off Mexico’s Pacific coast and it could become become a major hurricane as it keeps heading north over the ocean.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that Hilary had maximum winds of 75 mph (120 kph), and it was located 320 miles (515 kilometers) from the Mexican port city of Manzanillo, far from land.

The hurricane was moving at 13 mph (20 mph) west-northwest, and it was expected to become a major hurricane by Thursday night or early Friday as it moves toward the Baja peninsula, near the U.S. border.

Tropical Storm Hilary forms off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast

Tropical Storm Hilary formed Wednesday far off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, but it is expected to strengthen and move north towards the Baja California peninsula later this week.

Hilary had winds of 40 mph (65 kph) Wednesday. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Hilary was located about 370 miles (590 kilometers) south-southeast of the port city of Manzanillo, far from land.

The storm was moving west-northwest at 15 mph (24 kph). But it was expected to make a turn northward later in the week and strengthen into a hurricane before possibly brushing the northern part of the Baja peninsula, near the U.S. border, as a tropical storm.

The Hurricane Center said that “Hilary has the potential to bring impacts to the Baja California Peninsula and portions of the southwestern United States this weekend.”

Two other tropical storms, Fernanda and Greg, were far out to sea in the Pacific.

(WATCH BELOW: Tracking the Tropics: Officials monitor storm as hurricane season begins)

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