'Extremely dangerous' Hurricane Willa barrelling towards Mexico

by Fredrick Graves October 23, 2018, 0:17
'Extremely dangerous' Hurricane Willa barrelling towards Mexico

Hurricane Willa, churning off central Mexico's Pacific coast, strengthened on Sunday night to a unsafe Category 4 storm, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Hurricane Willa was about 240 miles (390 kilometers) southwest of the port city of Manzanillo early Sunday with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph).

Tourist resorts on Mexico's Pacific coast are bracing for 160mph winds as Hurricane Willa barrels towards them.

By early Monday, its core was about 195miles southeast of Acapulco with top sustained winds of 45mph.

Hurricane Willa, a huge and life threatening storm that's approaching category 5 status, could devastate Mexico's western coast, forecasters warn.

The hurricane is on track to be one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the Pacific coast of Mexico and its landfall will come three years to the day after the strongest, Hurricane Patricia, made landfall one state to the south, in Jalisco.

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The US National Hurricane Center said that Willa could "produce life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall over portions of southwestern and west-central Mexico beginning on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT)". A tropical storm warning is in effect for Playa Perula to San Blas and north of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya.

Forecasters said it was expected to weaken into a tropical depression Monday night or early Tuesday while moving nearer to Mexico's southern Pacific shore.

Hurricane-force winds extended 45 kmfrom the storm's center, and tropical storm-force winds were up to 1650 km out.

"Vicente is moving toward the west-northwest near 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) and a turn to the northwest is expected today followed by a turn to the north-northwest on Tuesday", the agency said. It would also cause torrential downpours of about 70 to 150 mm of rain in parts of Southern Mexico with over 250 mm over pockets of Guerrero, Michoaca, Colima and Jalisco causing flash flooding and landslides.

This hurricane season is shaping up to be especially eventful for both coasts of North America.

The SMN urged residents to "exercise extreme caution" as recent rains have softened the soil in some areas, and Willa's downpours could cause landslides, flooding and damage to roadways.

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