Mexico issues hurricane watch as Odile swirls in Pacific

Mexico issued a hurricane watch for the western state of Baja California Sur on Saturday as a strengthening Odile swirled nearby in the Pacific Ocean.

Mexico City: Mexico issued a hurricane watch for the western state of Baja California Sur on Saturday as a strengthening Odile swirled nearby in the Pacific Ocean.

Powerful winds and heavy rains were expected to batter the narrow Baja California peninsula starting Saturday evening, forecasters warned, with parts of some western states predicted to see up to 38 centimeters (15 inches) from the storm.

"These rains are likely to result in life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the Miami-based National Hurricane Center warned.

As of 2100 GMT, Odile was a category one hurricane with sustained winds of 150 kilometers (90 miles) per hour, the NHC said, warning it "could become a major hurricane on Sunday."

However, slow-moving Odile was not expected to make landfall, forecasters said.

"The core of Odile will remain offshore of the southwestern coast of Mexico today and tonight and pass near or southwest of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula Sunday night and Monday morning," the NHC said.

The hurricane was located 300 kilometers southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, moving toward the northwest at nine kilometers per hour.

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