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Hurricane Karl bears down on Mexico

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Karl now a Category two hurricane
  • NEW: Karl's core forecast to make landfall between Veracruz to Cabo Rojo
  • Hurricane watch in effect for Bermuda because of Category 3 Igor
  • Hurricane Julia forecast to become tropical storm on Friday

Miami, Florida (CNN) -- Category 2 Hurricane Karl headed toward the Mexican coast with 100 mph (160 kph) winds with higher gusts and could become an intense Category 3, the National Hurricane Center said.

As of 11 p.m. ET Thursday, Karl was about 115 miles (185 kilometers) east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, moving west at around 9 miles per hour (15 kph).

A hurricane warning is in effect for the Mexican coast from Veracruz to Cabo Rojo, and the core of the hurricane is forecast to make landfall within the area late Friday.

Hurricane force winds extended outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the center, and tropical storm force winds extended outward up to 105 miles (165 km), the center said.

The National Hurricane Center warns that Karl's storm surge could raise water levels as much as 6 to 9 feet (1.8-2.7 meters) above normal in the area where the center makes landfall.

The storm is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches (12.7-25.4 cm) along the central and southern Mexican Gulf Coast region, while up to 15 inches (38.1 cm) are possible in the interior mountains. Such rain could cause deadly flash floods and mudslides, the center warned.

Meanwhile, east of the Gulf of Mexico, two powerful storms churned in the Atlantic Ocean.

At 11 p.m. ET, Category 3 Hurricane Igor had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph) and was 390 miles (625 km) northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands. The storm was moving toward the northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).

A hurricane watch was in effect for Bermuda.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 105 miles (165 km) from Igor's center, and tropical storm-force winds could be felt up to 290 miles (465 km) outward, according to the center.

Large swells generated by Hurricane Igor will continue to affect the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, according to the weather agency. These swells are expected to cause dangerous surf- and rip-current conditions in Bermuda over the next several days. These swells will reach the eastern coast of the U.S. Friday and continue through the weekend.

In the far eastern Atlantic, Hurricane Julia weakened further.

As of 11 p.m. ET, Julia's maximum sustained winds were 80 mph (130 kph). The storm was moving west-northwest at speeds around 24 mph (39 kph). The storm's center was about 1375 miles (2,210 km) southwest of the Azores Islands.

Julia is expected to slowly weaken and could become a tropical storm on Friday.