Hurricane Orlene strengthens to category 4 and approaches western Mexico

(CNN) — Category 4 Hurricane Orlene is rapidly intensifying and is approaching western Mexico, where it is expected to cause life-threatening flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (209 km/h), was heading north at 7 mph (11 km/h) on Sunday morning about 175 miles (282 km) south of the Marias Islands. , Mexico, said the center. Las Islas Marías, an archipelago about 97 km (60 miles) from the mainland, is expected to face hurricane conditions on Sunday night.

Orlene is projected to reach the coast of mainland Mexico late Monday or later, making landfall just south of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, where life-threatening flash flooding is a concern, according to the CONAGUA Agency of Mexico.

Orlene’s sustained wind speed increased from Saturday night when the storm was a Category 2 intensity.

“Further strengthening is forecast through this morning, followed by weakening beginning later today and continuing to landfall,” the hurricane center said early Sunday.

Orlene is forecast to produce heavy downpours, storm surges and landslides along the coast of western Mexico. The forecast also calls for the region to experience 3 to 5 inches (76 to 127 mm) of rain, with local amounts up to 10 inches (254 mm).

A hurricane warning is in effect for the Islas Marías and the coast of mainland Mexico from San Blas to Mazatlán. A hurricane warning is in effect for the coast of mainland Mexico from Playa Perula to San Blas and from Mazatlán to Bahía Tempehuaya, including the city of Puerto Vallarta.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of mainland Mexico from Playa Perula to San Blas. For its part, a tropical storm alert is in effect for the coast of continental Mexico from Manzanillo to Playa Perula.

Residents in the path of the hurricane are advised to take extreme precautions due to the potential for life-threatening flooding, winds and rip currents.

Orlene is headed toward Mexico just weeks after Hurricane Kay made landfall along the west coast of the central Baja California peninsula as a Category 1 hurricane.

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