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Hurricane Marie becomes kicks up high surf along Mexico's Pacific coast

This NOAA satellite image taken Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 at 02:00 AM EDT shows Hurricane Marie about 500 miles southwest of the Baja Peninsula. Marie is a very powerful storm with maximum winds measured near 150 miles per hour. This storm will continue moving to the northwest and will not pose a threat to land. Over the western United States, a stationary front from the central Plains through the Great Basin produces rain showers and thunderstorms. (AP Photo/Weather Underground)

MEXICO CITY – Powerful Hurricane Marie kicked high swells along Mexico’s northern Pacific coast on Monday, even as it weakened to a Category 3 storm. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said it would likely raise dangerous waves along the Southern California coast this week.

The Miami-based centre said that on Monday evening Marie had sustained winds of up to 135 mph (215 kph) and was located about 505 miles (815 kilometres) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. It said the storm was moving northwest at 13 mph (20 kph). Swells provoked by the storm were affecting much of Mexico’s Pacific coast and the centre warned of dangerous surf and rip current conditions.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 60 miles (95 kilometres) away from the storm’s centre, with tropical storm-force winds reaching out to 310 miles (500 kilometres).

The hurricane centre said Marie is expected to gradual weaken as it moves in a northwestwardly direction in the coming days, and could be downgraded to a tropical storm by Wednesday.

The southern Pacific coast state of Oaxaca requested federal disaster relief after about 10,000 homes were either damaged, flooded or cut off by mudslides on the state’s mountainous rural roads due to rains associated with Marie last week. One man was injured in a mudslide but there were no reported deaths, the state government said late Sunday.

The government of Baja California Sur, closer to the hurricane’s current location, said it would cancel some classes in the resort cities of Los Cabos as a precautionary measure.

Swells generated by Marie are expected to reach Southern California by Tuesday, and could cause life-threatening surf and rip currents, as well as minor coastal flooding, the hurricane centre in Miami said.