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Hurricane Paul Gaining Strength

October 23, 2006

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Hurricane Paul was gaining force Monday as it began curving toward toward the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Paul had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph) and was moving northwest at about 5 mph (7 kph.) Forecasters predicted it would strengthen further and could hit Mexico’s Pacific coast in the next few days.

A hurricane watch was issued for the tip of Baja California, a resort area that has been battered by two other hurricanes this season.

The storm was on a course that would bring it just south of the peninsula late Tuesday before plowing into Mexico’s Pacific coast near the resort of Mazatlan.

At 1300 GMT, the storm was about 455 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, known for deep-sea fishing and upscale hotels popular with Hollywood’s elite.

Mexico was struck by two Pacific hurricanes last month. Hurricane John battered Baja California, killing five people and destroying 160 homes, while Hurricane Lane hit the resort town of Mazatlan, causing relatively minor damage.

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