Hurricane Andres strengthens off Mexican coast

This image obtained from the NOAA-NASA GOES Project shows Tropical Storm Andres (bottom) on May 28, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
This image obtained from the NOAA-NASA GOES Project shows Tropical Storm Andres (bottom) on May 28, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Andres, the first storm of the Pacific season, strengthened Saturday to a Category Two hurricane as it churned hundreds of kilometres off the coast of Mexico, the National Weather Service said.

The storm could cause heavy rain across southern Mexico, but was some 1,125 km from the Baja California beach resort of Los Cabos, the Mexican agency said in a report.

Andres reached the Category Two status on a scale of five, and was moving northwest at 10 kmh with maximum sustained winds of 165 kmh.

"Strong to very strong rains" were possible in Guerrero, Michoacan and Jalisco states, according to the weather service, which recommended that seafaring vessels "take precaution." The storm will move 35 km closer to Colima state overnight and then begin moving away from the Mexican coast, said the report, issued at 1500 GMT.

The weather service forecast that Andres would downgrade to a tropical storm Tuesday some 1,350 km from Colima.

The Pacific hurricane season began on May 15 and runs through Nov 30.

Last year's season was the most active since 1992, with 20 recorded storms, of which 14 went on to become hurricanes.

The most damaging was Hurricane Odile, which killed six people and caused millions of dollars' worth of damage in September in Los Cabos.