Sandra still Category 3 hurricane in eastern Pacific; expected to weaken before reaching land

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MIAMI — Hurricane Sandra is still a powerful Category 3 storm in the eastern Pacific, but it is expected to weaken significantly before it reaches Mexico's mainland.

The hurricane's maximum sustained winds Thursday night were 120 mph (195 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says rapid weakening is expected: Sandra is forecast to weaken to a tropical storm Friday night and become a remnant low on Saturday before it reaches the coast of Mexico's Sinaloa state.

Sandra is centered about 340 miles (545 kilometers) south of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula and is moving north at 13 mph (20 kph).

A tropical storm watch is in effect for the Baja California peninsula from Todos Santos to Los Barriles.

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