June 25, 2010 / 2:41 PM / 10 years ago

Hurricane Darby a major storm in Mexican Pacific

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hurricane Darby strengthened in the eastern Pacific off Mexico on Friday but was expected to move farther away from land and decrease speed during the weekend, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Darby grew into a Category 3 hurricane earlier on Friday. It strengthened during the day and had maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and was 250 miles south-southwest of the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco.

The storm was moving west-northwest at 6 mph and should turn westward over the weekend, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

Pacific hurricanes can damage tourist resorts along Mexico’s coast but pose no threat to the country’s oil industry, which is primarily located in the Gulf of Mexico.

Farther out in the Pacific, Hurricane Celia continued to weaken after reaching Category 5 status, the most powerful storm strength. Celia posed no threat to land as it roared across the Pacific and forecasters said it should dissipate by the middle of next week.

Celia, the first hurricane of the Pacific season, was 845 miles southwest of the tip of Baja California and had maximum sustained winds of 135 mph. Celia was forecast to continue moving west-northwest away from land and gradually weaken over the weekend.

In the Caribbean, hurricane watchers were monitoring a low pressure system off the coast of Honduras. [ID:nN25106404] Forecasters said there was a 70 percent chance the weather system could become a tropical depression within the next two days. A storm there could disrupt oil-siphoning efforts at BP’s blown-out Gulf of Mexico well.

Reporting by Robert Campbell

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