Hurricane Rick becomes Category 5 storm

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Satellite image of Rick

Hurricane Rick in the Eastern Pacific became an extremely powerful Category 5 hurricane on Saturday, the first in the region since 2002's Hurricane Kenna. Rick had winds of 180 mph (285 km/h), making it the second-strongest East Pacific tropical cyclone on record, but has since weakened slightly.

The storm is currently situated about 500 miles south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas, and is moving west-northwestward. Forecasters say Rick will eventually take a turn towards the northeast, bringing it towards the southern Baja California Peninsula of Mexico. Officials advise residents throughout the region to keep a close eye on the storm's progress over the coming days.

The storm formed just a few days ago, and quickly grew to an extremely dangerous Category 5 cyclone. "Rick is probably going to go into the record books as one of the most rapidly intensifying hurricanes," said Hugh Cobb, a National Hurricane Center forecaster.

Rick is the seventeenth named storm of the 2009 Pacific hurricane season.