Hurricane Paula has formed off the coast of

Honduras and the storm is forecast to skirt the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said early Tuesday that Paula had maximum sustained winds near 75 mph (120 kph) and was moving northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).

Honduran emergency officials have been urging coastal residents to evacuate low-lying areas and Mexico issued a hurricane warning as strong winds and rain battered the Caribbean coast.

Paula is about 230 miles (370 kilometers) south-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico.

Paula is expected to dump from 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of rain in eastern Honduras, the Yucatan Peninsula and northern Belize.