MEXICO CITY -- MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Raymond strengthened to a Category 3 storm early Monday and threatened to hurl heavy new rains onto a sodden region of Mexico's Pacific Coast already devastated by last month's Tropical Storm Manuel.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the newly formed storm had nearly stalled offshore, about 165 miles (265 kilometers) west-southwest of Acapulco, and it was expected to move a little closer to the coast by Tuesday before veering back out to sea on Wednesday.

Mexican authorities rushed to deploy emergency crews and said they were considering ordering evacuations of low-lying areas. About 10,000 people already were living away from their homes a month after Manuel inundated whole neighborhoods and caused landslides that buried much of one village. It left behind drenched hillsides that posed serious landslide risks.

David Korenfeld, head of Mexico's National Water Commission, said officials were pinning their hopes on a cold front moving from the north that could help steer Raymond away from the coast.

"The cold front coming down is what makes it (Raymond) turn to the left, but that is a model," Korenfeld said. "If that cold front comes down more slowly, this tropical storm ... can get closer to the coast."

Forecasters said that even if Raymond stays offshore, the storm could dump heavy rain and cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides along the south-central Mexican coast.

"There will be rain for the next 72 hours along the Pacific coast — very heavy rain, torrential rain," Korenfeld said.

Raymond's center was about 115 miles (185 kilometers) south-southwest of the beach resort of Zihuatanejo and it had maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph) early Monday.

A hurricane warning was in effect from Tecpan de Galeana, up the coast from Acapulco, north to the port of Lazaro Cardenas. A tropical storm warning was posted from Acapulco to Tecpan.

Authorities in the southern state of Guerrero, where Manuel caused about 120 deaths from flooding and landslides in September, closed seaports, set up 700 emergency shelters and urged residents in risk areas to take precautions. Officials were expected to decide soon whether to order more evacuations, including from low-lying areas of Acapulco that flooded during Manuel.

The state cancelled classes in most coastal communities west of Acapulco, including Zihuatanejo. Schools are often used as emergency shelters in Mexico.

The potential for damage from such rains is high. About 50 dams in the area are still over capacity, and officials began releasing water to make room for expected rainfall.

Some villages high in the mountains of Guerrero were still without electricity and phone service following Manuel.

In Zihuatanejo, near the Ixtapa resort, authorities sent emergency personnel into low-lying areas to warn people to seek safer ground, said Miguel Quiroz, a local Red Cross dispatcher.

In Barra de Potosi, a beach area just outside Zihuatanejo, a light rain began falling Sunday but tourists were largely undisturbed by the storm's proximity.

"We've got bookings coming in, people are coming in," said London native Les Johnson, an employee at the Our House bed and breakfast. "There's people on the beach, it's quite nice ... there's no problem at the moment."

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  • National archaeology coordinator Pedro Francisco Sanchez examines a stone plinth depicting a nobleman or priest, probably dating from between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D., during a ceremony to present recently recovered pre-Hispanic archaeological pieces at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. Three pre-Hispanic stone carvings have been returned by the Lowe Art museum in Miami after being illegally removed from Mexico decades ago. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

  • A stone serpent’s head, that probably dates to between 900 and 1,200 A.D., sits on a pedestal after it was removed from a crate at a ceremony to present recently recovered pre-Hispanic archaeological pieces, at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. Three pre-Hispanic stone carvings have been returned by the Lowe Art museum in Miami after being illegally removed from Mexico decades ago. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

  • Museum officials and specialists place a stone serpent’s head, that probably dates to between 900 and 1,200 A.D., on a pedestal after taking it out of a crate during a ceremony to present recently recovered pre-Hispanic archaeological pieces, at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. Three pre-Hispanic stone carvings have been returned by the Lowe Art museum in Miami after being illegally removed from Mexico decades ago. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

  • Museum officials take off the final protective wrapping that was covering a stone plinth depicting a nobleman or priest probably dating from between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. during a ceremony to present recently recovered Pre-Hispanic archaeological pieces at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. Three pre-Hispanic stone carvings have been returned by the Lowe Art museum in Miami after being illegally removed from Mexico decades ago. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)