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Kiko strengthens into major hurricane in East Pacific


Update 5 p.m.

Kiko rapidly strengthened into a major hurricane today in the East Pacific Ocean and could be at or near major hurricane strength early next week.

Kiko, a Category 3 hurricane with winds near 115 mph, is 775 mile west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, the National Hurricane Center reported. Kiko is moving toward the west near 9 mph and this general motion is expected to continue for the next day or two.

Additional strengthening is possible tonight. Gradual weakening is expected to begin by Monday, but Kiko is expected to be at or near major hurricane strength for the next couple of days.

11 a.m.

Kiko strengthened into a hurricane today and is currently 730 miles west, southwest of the southern tip of Baja California.

Kiko is moving toward the west near 12 mph. A westward or west-northwestward course at a slwoer forward speed is expected uring the next several days.

Kiko has maximum sustained winds near 85 mph. Some additional strengthening is forecast during the day or so, followed by little change in strength Sunday night and Monday. Weakening is expected to begin by Tuesday.

5 a.m.

Tropical Storm Kiko strengthened in the East Pacific Ocean overnight, and forecasters from the National Weather Service expect the storm to become a hurricane later today.

As of 5 a.m. today, Kiko was located about 665 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, moving west at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

According to forecasters, Kiko’s continued path over warm water in a low wind shear environment over the next day or two should allow for “additional intensification,” although the storm is expected to move into cooler waters and encounter increasing wind shear that will contribute to a steady weakening early next week east of Hawaii.

Closer to the islands, forecasters are watching a pair of disturbances south of the state. As of 2 a.m. today, one area of low pressure was located about 600 miles south-southwest of Honolulu, with slow development possible over the weekend as the system moves toward the northwest.

A second disturbance is located about 850 miles southeast of Hawaii island and is slowly moving to the west-northwest. Both systems have approximately a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next five days.

Hot and humid weather conditions are expected to continue, forecasters said, with increasing clouds and showers across the state through Monday.

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