August 7, 2014 / 9:51 AM / 3 years ago

Hurricane Julio strengthens to category 2: U.S. NHC

(Reuters) - Hurricane Julio, packing maximum sustained winds near 100 miles per hour (155 km/h), with higher gusts, has been upgraded to a Category 2 status, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Thursday.

Julio, which was moving west-northwest at about 17 mph (28 km/h), could continue to strengthen on Thursday but was forecast to gradually weaken on Thursday evening and continue into the weekend, the center said.

Julio was upgraded on Wednesday from a tropical storm and has been forecast to roll into the island chain of Hawaii as early as Saturday.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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