Bonnie strengthens into category 3 hurricane over Pacific

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Tropical Storm Bonnie has now strengthened into a hurricane as it moves over the Pacific Ocean.

The storm had initially formed in the Atlantic basin, hitting Nicaragua and Costa Rica over the weekend before strengthening again as it continues westward.

The storm is not projected to make landfall again anywhere, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Hurricane Bonnie is now a Category 3 hurricane, the agency adds, with wind speeds at almost 115 miles per hour (185 km/h). This is first major hurricane — meaning Category 3 or higher — of the year in the Eastern Pacific.

Previously, Hurricanes Agatha and Blas — Cat. 2 and 1, respectively — had formed in the Eastern Pacific. Bonnie, the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, formed as a tropical storm in the Caribbean and reached hurricane status after crossing Central America.

Agatha had also reformed as Tropical Storm Alex once reaching the Atlantic.

There are currently no warnings or watches in effect regarding Hurricane Bonnie, NHC says, although some swells could affect the coasts in parts of southern Mexico. The storm is expected to start weakening by Thursday.

As Bonnie passed through Nicaragua, it caused flooding that resulted in at least two deaths, reports the Associated Press.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecasted an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic, with up to 21 named storms, in part due to the ongoing La Niña conditions and warmer temperatures, which can result in higher Atlantic hurricane activity.

However the agency has also predicted a lower-than-average hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific.

Hurricanes may be expected to get stronger, but not necessarily more frequent as the climate crisis grows, Nasa says.