Tropical Storm Franklin could be near hurricane strength when it hits Mexico's Yucatan peninsula Monday evening.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported at 5 a.m. that Franklin's top winds already strengthened to 45 mph (75 kph) in the northwestern Caribbean, where it's moving west-northwest at 13 mph (21 kph) off the coast of Honduras.
It was expected to hold that course, making landfall at the Yucatan Monday evening, then crossing over the Gulf Tuesday on a path to central Mexico.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the coast of Mexico from Chetumal to Punta Allen, and with tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 140 miles (220 kilometers) from the center, Belize could feel the effects by late afternoon.
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