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The eyewall contributes to "some of the most powerfuly storms on earth".

Hurricane Cristina strengthens to a major Category 4 storm off Mexico's Pacific coast

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Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Thursday, June 12, 2014, 8:37 AM - After becoming a hurricane on Wednesday, Cristina continues to rapidly intensify and strengthened into a major Category 4 storm Thursday morning.

IN-DEPTH: Read digital meteorologist Scott Sutherland's detailed analysis at the coming Atlantic hurricane season.

"Cristina continues to rapidly intensify and maximum sustained winds have increased to near 230 km/h with higher gusts," said the U.S. National Hurricane Center Thursday morning. "Some additional strengthening is possible today, but weakening is forecast to begin tonight."

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, but forecasters say swells generated by the hurricane are affecting parts of Mexico's southwest coast and could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

According to the NHC, Cristina is the earliest second major hurricane formation in the eastern Pacific since "reliable records" began in 1971.

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