ACAPULCO, Mexico - Hurricane Carlotta formed in the Pacific on Friday, strengthened quickly and traveled along a path that could bring it ashore on Mexico's southern coast later in the day or early Saturday, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Carlotta, the third named storm of the Pacific hurricane season, escalated throughout the afternoon into a "rapidly intensifying Category 2 hurricane," the center said.

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As it hurtled toward the coast, it reached maximum winds of nearly 105 mph (165 kph) with higher gusts. At 5 p.m. EDT/2100 GMT, it was about 65 miles (100 km) south-southeast of Puerto Angel and about 280 miles (450 km) southeast of the tourist city of Acapulco.

Officials expected it to move over or near the coast between the two beach resorts as early as Friday night. They expected a dangerous storm surge and significant coastal flooding across the area, though the hurricane could dissipate if it moves over the mountains of southern Mexico.