Amanda now most potent May hurricane in E. Pacific

Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Amanda rapidly gained force far off of Mexico's Pacific coast Sunday, growing into the strongest May hurricane on modern record for the Eastern Pacific, with sustained winds of about 150 mph (240 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the main body of the category-4 hurricane posed little threat to land, however. It was centered about 740 miles (1,185 kilometers) south of the southern tip of Baja California at midafternoon, and forecasters expected it to weaken while staying well out to sea, at least through Friday. Earlier Sunday, its maximum winds had hit 155 mph (250 kph).

Even so, Mexico's National Meterological Service said rains associated with Amanda were likely to drench much of western and central Mexico.

The previous May record for the region was held by Hurricane Adolph in 2001, which had sustained winds of up to 145 mph (230 kph). Earlier storms may have been stronger, but reliable records didn't become possible until satellites went into use in the mid-1960s.

The Eastern Pacific hurricane season officially started May 15. The Atlantic season starts June 1.

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