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Hurricane builds, heads toward Mexico

A powerful hurricane emerged in the Pacific and lumbered toward the southern Mexican coast Tuesday, picking up strength as it passed over warm waters.Hurricane Pauline had sustained winds of 98 mph, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said it was expected to become a Category 3 hurricane - with winds over 115 mph - by late Tuesday.

Mexico issued a hurricane warning from Tapachula to Punta Maldonado, saying 12-foot seas were expected to wallop the coast, and El Salvador declared a national state of alert.

Brian Jarvinen of the Hurricane Center in Miami said Pauline was expected to head toward the southern Mexican coast, possibly hitting land by Thursday.

At 7 a.m. MDT Tuesday, Pauline was about 230 miles south-southeast of the Mexican port of Salina Cruz and moving at 5 mph.

Authorities in Puerto Madero, near the Mexico's border with Guatemala, closed their facilities Monday to all ships except those in open seas seeking refuge from the storm, the Mexican government news agency Notimex reported.

El Salvador's National Emergency Committee declared a state of alert, warning people in flood-prone areas that further downpours are possible.

Remnants of a previous storm, Olaf, have soaked Central America and Mexico with 10 days of heavy rain that was responsible for at least four deaths.