Hurricane Frank heads out to Pacific, leaves four dead in Mexico

MIAMI (AFP) – Tropical Storm Frank strengthened into the third Pacific hurricane of the 2010 season on Wednesday, veering west after soaking Mexico’s southern coast, where heavy rains left four dead.

Hurricane Frank packed winds of up to 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour, making it a Category One hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale, the US National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory.

The storm was about 240 miles south of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico, moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour, the NHC reported.

It was not expected to make landfall, although it will pass near tiny Socorro Island on Friday.

At least four people died, including two buried in a landslide, and two were missing after heavy rains unleashed by Frank in Mexico’s southern Oaxaca state, local officials said Wednesday.

The rains flooded homes, damaged roads and bridges and affected more than 100 towns.

Separately, Hurricane Danielle — the second of the 2010 Atlantic season — churned far out over the ocean Wednesday with winds reaching sustained speeds of 85 miles per hour, the NHC said.

The Category One hurricane was east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands, moving northwest at about 17 miles per hour, the NHC said.

Danielle was expected to slow its movement but could strengthen in the next 48 hours, it added.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Earl packed winds of up to 40 miles per hour after forming in the Atlantic, about 520 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde islands.

Earl could become a hurricane by Friday, the NHC said.

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