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Hurricane Emilia packs the biggest punch of 2012 season

Hurricane Emilia has swelled to a Category 4 hurricane, the first major hurricane of this season. Hurricane Emilia, 700 miles southwest of Baja California, is expected to go out to sea.

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Within 24 hours of becoming a hurricane, Hurricane Emilia has rapidly strengthened into a major Category 4 storm, making it the strongest storm of the hurricane season so far.

Emilia first formed as a tropical storm on Saturday night, and strengthened into a hurricane early yesterday morning (July 9). It then rapidly gained Category 2 strength on the Saffir-Simpson scale and as of this morning had strengthened further into a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph (220 kph).

The hurricane is located 680 miles (1,100 kilometers) south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California and is heading further out into the ocean, posing no threat to land.

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Emilia's strength could fluctuate over the course of the day, according to the latest updated from the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla., but the storm is expected to begin a gradual weakening Tuesday night that will last through Thursday.

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