‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Willa aims for Mexico’s west

Hurricane Willa as seen from NOAA's GOES Wast satellite Sun. Oct. 21 2018.                        NOAA
Hurricane Willa as seen from NOAA's GOES Wast satellite Sun. Oct. 21 2018. NOAA
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23 October, 2018

Newly formed Hurricane Willa rapidly intensified off Mexico's Pacific coast Sunday and early Monday and became a major Category 5 storm, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Schools close to the coast in Sinaloa and Nayarit states have been ordered to close, and emergency shelters are being prepared.

Models suggest, however that the storm has the potential to be formidable, as it will develop as the remnants of Category 5 Hurricane Willa, now in the eastern Pacific Ocean near Mexico's west coast, are drawn northeast into the Gulf of Mexico by the middle of the week.

Tropical Storm Willa is the 21st named storm of the eastern Pacific hurricane season.

The landfall is most likely to be along the southwestern coast of mainland Mexico by late Tuesday between north of Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Playa Perula to San Blas and north of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya. Earlier forecast models showed that Willa's remnants could make it to southern Texas by the end of the week.

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Willa is forecast to accelerate towards the north-northeast tomorrow and move over or very near the Mexican islands of Islas Marias.

The storm's rate of intensification has been extreme, climbing from a 40 mph tropical storm to a 155 mph hurricane in just 48 hours between Saturday and Monday (and from 100 to 160 mph in the most recent 24 hours).

The hurricane center said 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain should fall - and some places could see up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) - on parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa states. Those rains could also cause life-threatening flash flooding.

While Vicente is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Monday night or Tuesday, it could produce major rainfall and the risk of flash floods and landslides, the NHC said. The hurricane centre said it could produce 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimetres) of rain in parts of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco states.

It was expected to produce a life-threatening risky storm surge, which will push of ocean water into portions of the coast, and wind and rain.


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