Norma becomes a hurricane off the Pacific coast of Mexico

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Tropical Storm Norma has strengthened into a category 1 hurricane off the Pacific coast of Mexico, forecasters say. The storm is expected to make landfall on the Baja California peninsula on Tuesday night.

As of 9 p.m. MT on Friday, the center of Norma was located about 85 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of Socorro Island, or 435 kilometers (270 miles) south of Cabo San Lucas, a city at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said maximum sustained winds had increased to 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour, with gusts up to 148 kilometers (92 miles) per hour. Some additional strengthening is forecast throughout the weekend but Norma will likely weaken back to a tropical storm on Monday.

“Norma should remain over warm water and within a low shear environment during the next 24 to 36 hours,” said Daniel Brown, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. “These conditions favor strengthening, but the large size of Norma is likely to keep the intensification rate in check.”

Brown added: “Increasing vertical shear and cooler waters are expected to impart gradual weakening after 48 hours.”

Norma is moving slowly towards the north-northwest and its center will be close to the Baja California peninsula on Monday evening. The storm is then expected to turn towards the east, causing it to make landfall on the peninsula on Tuesday night.

“Interests in Baja California Sur should monitor the progress of Norma,” the National Hurricane Center said in its 9 p.m. advisory. “A Tropical Storm Watch could be required later tonight or Saturday for a part of the peninsula.”

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