Hurricane Carlotta: Category 2 storm strengthens on its way to Mexico

Hurricane Carlotta grew to a category two storm Friday as it headed toward Mexico's Pacific coast.

According to Agence France-Presse, the hurricane had maximum winds of 150 miles per hour and was moving northwest at 12 miles per hour.

"Some additional strengthening is possible this evening, followed by weakening as the center of Carlotta moves along the coast of Mexico," said the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.

Carlotta is expected to brush Mexico's southern Pacific coast near the resort town of Puerto Escondido, and will then approach Acapulco, reported the Associated Press. Emergency shelters have been opened, tourists have started to leave Puerto Escondido and hotel owners have been gathering furniture and other objects that could fly during the hurricane.

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State oil company Pemex also took preventative measures, but the eye of the storm had passed north of the refinery — Salinas Cruz, which produces 330,000 barrels per day — by late Friday morning, according to Reuters.

AFP also reported that US meteorologists have predicted a total rainfall of three to five inches in Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca states, and up to 15 inches along the Oaxaca coast.

"These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the NHC said, according to AFP. "A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding to the north and east of the center," it added, warning of "large and destructive waves."