The storm was upgraded to Category three on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale by the U.S. National Hurricane Centre in Miami.
Packing maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometres per hour, the eye of the storm was moving at 19 kilometres per hour toward Mexico's northeastern coast, where Emily is expected to make landfall by early Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Centre said it expects Emily to continue strengthening before it reaches Mexico, and could even become a fearsome Category 4 hurricane with winds approaching 250 kilometres per hour.
The southern United States could avoid the brunt of this storm if Emily stays on its expected track, the centre said. But authorities have issued a hurricane warning for the lower Texas coast, as any northward deviation in Emily's expected path could bring the storm to the border state.
Emily first made major landfall early Monday, when it hit the Yucatan Peninsula with winds measured at up to 215 kilometres per hour. Huge waves caused flooding in some areas and power was disrupted as thousands of people including tourists were sheltered in schools and other protected buildings.
Emily destroyed shantytowns and tore up 50,000 hectares of agricultural land, but no new deaths were reported Monday and Tuesday. The storm's rampage had previously caused nine deaths - one in Grenada, four in Jamaica and four in Mexico.
Two weeks ago, Hurricane Dennis more than 25 people dead as it hurtled across the Antilles, Haiti and Cuba. It's the first time on record that five named tropical storms have occurred this early in the season.
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- Deutsche Presse Agentur
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