Hurricane Marie becomes powerful category 5 storm off Mexico

Posted at 08/25/14 7:51 AM

MEXICO CITY - Hurricane Marie intensified to a powerful category five storm in the Pacific Sunday, as six Mexican states braced for heavy rain and dangerous waves.

As the eighth hurricane of the eastern Pacific season, Marie was packing maximum sustained winds of 160 miles (260 kilometers) per hour, according to the latest bulletin from US forecasters.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned the storm could continue to gain strength over the next day or two.

Marie was far from land -- some 500 miles (805 kilometers) south of Mexico's Baja California peninsula -- moving west at 14 miles per hour.

No coastal storm watches or warnings were in effect.

But the NHC said portions of Mexico's southwestern coast were already seeing powerful waves and the impact was likely to spread toward the southern Baja California peninsula and the Gulf of California as the storm moves to the northwest.

"These swells are likely to cause extremely dangerous life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," the forecasters warned.

In Mexico, the national weather service said Saturday heavy rains threatened the states of Michoacan, Colima, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Nayarit, warning they could trigger mudslides and cause rivers to overflow their banks.

It urged the millions of people living in those states to "exercise caution" and to stay tuned for updates.