Cat. 3 Hurricane Orlene is heading towards the Pacific coast of Mexico

MEXICO CITY — Hurricane Orlene upgraded to Category 3 on Sunday as it tracked toward Mexico’s northwest Pacific coast between the tourist towns of Mazatlan and San Blas.

After becoming a hurricane on Saturday, Orlene rapidly increased in strength and had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) on Sunday, according to the US National Hurricane Center. That was slightly below its Category 4 peak of 130 mph (215 km/h) earlier in the day.

The storm was expected to roar past the Islas Marias, a former penal colony being developed as a tourist attraction, late Sunday or early Monday, then head for a sparsely populated, lagoon-strewn mainland Monday night.

Orlene was centered about 95 miles (155 kilometers) southwest of Cabo Corrientes — a point of land that juts out into the Pacific just south of Puerto Vallarta — and was heading north at 8 mph (13 km/ h) early Sunday.

A hurricane warning was in effect from San Blas to Mazatlan.

The center said the storm would likely strengthen further on Sunday and then begin to weaken as it moved closer to land. But we still expected it to hit like a hurricane.

This could lead to flood-inducing rainfall of up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) in some places, as well as coastal flooding and dangerous waves.

Puerto Vallarta closed its port to marine and marine traffic on Saturday as a precaution, and the Mexican Navy announced that the ports of San Blas, Nuevo Vallarta and Manzanillo were closed to small craft.

Mexico’s National Water Commission said Orlene could cause “mudslides, higher levels of rivers and streams, and flooding in low-lying areas.”

The hurricane center described Orlene as a small storm, with hurricane-force winds extending about 15 miles (30 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds up to 70 miles (110 kilometers).