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Hurricane Rina Edges Toward Yucatan Peninsula

Hurricane Rina is expected to hit Mexico's Yucatan peninsula by Friday.

A tropical storm in the western Caribbean has rapidly intensified into a hurricane as it passes north of the Honduran coast toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says readings obtained by an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft show the storm named Rina reached minimal hurricane strength on Monday, with 120-kilometer-per hour winds. The center urged authorities in Belize and on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula to monitor the storm's progress, which is expected to become a "major" hurricane by late Tuesday.

The projected path shows Rina moving northwest and reaching the coast of the Yucatan peninsula by Friday. The National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to produce rainfall of up to 10 centimeters in the Cayman Islands to the east.

Heavy rains have hit parts of Central America in recent weeks, causing deadly flooding and damaging vast areas of farmland.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.