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Baja's 'strongest ever' hurricane set to make landfall tonight

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Guillermo Aria/AP

(Read caption) Men board up a storefront as hurricane Jimena approaches San Jose del Cabo, Mexico on Monday.

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Hurricane Jimena, almost a Category 5 storm, continues to threaten Mexican resort towns and fishing villages on the Baja California peninsula.

"This may be the strongest hurricane ever to hit the region," said José Gajón, the director of civil protection for the state of Baja California Sur.

Winds on Monday night neared 155 mph, which puts it just shy of a devastating Category 5 storm. Even if it weakens before hitting land (expected Tuesday evening) forecasters say it will strike as a major hurricane.

Mexican authorities focused on evacuation throughout Monday, urging up to 10,000 people to evacuate. Many refused, but the government said it would begin forced evacuations. "We are going to start by inviting people to leave... the moment will come when we will have to make it obligatory," Garibaldo Romero, the interior secretary for the municipal government, said.

The US National Hurricane Center warned that the storm surge, and consequent battering waves, could "produce significant coastal flooding along the Baja California peninsula."

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