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Dangerous Hurricane Spins Toward Mexico's...

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PUERTO ESCONDIDO, MEXICO (AP) — Heavyrain and surf pelted Mexico's southern Pacific coast today, as HurricanePauline spun toward land packing 130 mph winds. 

Landfall for what hurricane experts called a ``very dangerous'' stormwas expected this evening somewhere along the Oaxaca or Guerrero statecoast. 

Oaxaca state authorities set up 75 emergency shelters and federal officialsclosed six major ports between Acapulco and Puerto Madero, Chiapas, onthe country's southwestern Pacific coast. 

Lawn chairs, kayaks and surfboards were cleared from the beaches asPauline approached. For some tourists in this resort area, the loomingstorm was too much. 

``I'm going to bail out before it gets here,'' said Jim Ferguson, a43-year-old software designer from Glen Ellyn, Ill. ``I'm not going tosit around for 100 mph winds to get here. I'm on vacation.'' 

The U.S. National Hurricane Center predicted Pauline - which was about60 miles offshore at mid-day - would remain strong as it moved northwestat 7 mph. 

Hurricane-force winds spread out up to 35 miles from the eye of thestorm. The storm's winds increased to 130 mph as it headed toward land. 

In Santa Cruz, Red Cross workers set up two shelters, but didn't expectanyone to take advantage of them. ``We just want to be prepared in case,''said area Red Cross coordinator Radames Argente Estrada. 

Sixteen-foot seas were reported close to the storm and gusting windsswayed palm trees and drove intermittent rain over Huatulco, a resort juttingfrom Oaxaca state's rocky coast. 

But forecasters were keeping a wary eye on the hurricane. 

``This is a very dangerous hurricane. This is the real thing and I don'tsee anything to make Pauline weaken before it hits the coast,'' forecasterMax Mayfield at the Miami center said Tuesday. 

Rainfall of 5 to 10 inches with locally higher amounts was forecastalong Pauline's path, the hurricane center reported, raising warnings ofpossible life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. 

Passage of a previous storm, Olaf, last week over this same Pacificstretch caused flooding and heavy rains in southernmost Mexico and partsof Guatemala and El Salvador that were blamed in the deaths of at least18 people. 

By NIKO PRICE,Associated Press Writer 

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