9/22/11 (AEIN) As it neared Mexico on Thursday morning, Tropical Storm Hilary gained strength and nearly attained hurricane status. Top sustained winds had reached 110 kilometers per hour (seventy mi/hour) and the storm was moving west-northwest, according to an advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center early on Thursday.
Tropical storm watches and warnings remained in effect for parts of Mexico as Hilary moved within 145 kilometers (ninety miles) of Punto Maldonado. Forecasters predict strong winds and 7.6 to 12.7 cm (3-5 inches) of rain in the southwestern Oaxaca and southern Guerrero regions of Mexico. Dangerous rip currents are also possible.
Hilary may develop into a major hurricane by the weekend after moving along the southern Mexican coast. The regions threatened by the storm are located in southwestern Mexico, near the Pacific coastline. The country's long eastern and western coasts have exposed it to many damaging tropical storms and hurricanes throughout its history.