'Aletta' becomes first hurricane of 2018 east Pacific season

Storm damage in Belfast after Hurricane Ophelia battered the UK and Ireland with gusts of up to 80mph

Some additional strengthening is possible through Saturday.

The Weather Channel reported Aletta is centered just under 500 miles south of Mexico's Baja Peninsula.

Aletta has rapidly intensified into the hemisphere's first major hurricane for 2018 as the storm hits maximum sustained winds of up to 140 miles per hour, The Weather Channel reported.

"The remarkable intensification of Aletta has continued through this morning", the National Hurricane Center wrote in its 11 a.m. advisory. Aletta should strengthen over the next couple days before weakening back to a tropical storm midday Sunday and a tropical depression midday Tuesday.

Forecasters are also keeping an eye on another area of low pressure to the east of Aletta.

With the formation of Aletta, the hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific basin is off to an early start.

According to figures released in May, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is expecting a near-normal or above-normal season in the Eastern Pacific basin.

The Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 through November 30.

The latest infrared satellite imagery suggests that Aletta has become better organized over the last 6-12 hours and is nearing hurricane status. If the disturbance earns a name, it will be called Bud.

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