‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Willa aims for Mexico’s western coast

Frederick Owens
October 22, 2018

A newly formed hurricane rapidly gained force off Mexico's Pacific coast on Sunday and forecasters said it could reach Category 4 status before hitting land by midweek A hurricane watch was posted for a stretch of shore between San Blas and Mazatlan.

Earlier this month areas of the United States were devastated by Hurricane Michael, which left at least 27 people dead.

Two tropical storms are swirling in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico, and one is forecast to become a hurricane and approach the country's west coast late next week. A tropical storm warning is in effect for another 190 miles of coast, from San Blan to Playa Perula.

By early Monday, Willa had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (255 kph) - the same windspeed Hurricane Michael had at landfall in Florida - and was centered about 230 miles (370 kilometers) south of the Islas Marias and 175 miles (280 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes. It was moving north at 7mph.

The storm is forecast to hit the area on October 23 before moving over central Mexico.

Hurricane Willa, now a Category 4 with winds reaching 155 miles per hour this morning, is almost a Category 5, which has winds of at least 157 miles per hour.

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Farther to the south, Tropical Storm Vicente weakened but was still expected to produce heavy rainfall and flooding over parts of southern and southwestern Mexico.

At present, storm Willa is heading north-northwestwards, however, the system will gradually recurve northwards on Monday and then north-northeastwards by Tuesday.

It's now lashing out maximum sustained winds of about 130mph.

Forecasters said Willa is expected to produce storm total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, with local amounts up to 18 inches, across portions of western Jalisco, western Nayarit, and southern Sinaloa in Mexico.

It added: "Little change in strength is expected today".

On the other hand, the hurricane Vicente would stay offshore or near the southern coast of Mexico, weakening to a tropical depression through Tuesday morning.

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