Published: Mon, October 22, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

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

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

Hurricane Willa, an "extremely dangerous" storm heading to Mexico's Pacific coast, was upgraded to Category 4 by the National Hurricane Center late Sunday.

Willa is expected to deliver rainfall of up to 46cm (18in) along parts of south-west Mexico, the NHC said on Monday, as it reported that the storm was carrying winds of 256km/h (160mph).

"Willa is an extremely risky category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale".

Hurricane-force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the storm's center, and tropical storm-force winds were up to 105 miles (1650 kilometers) out.

Willa is 200 miles south-southwest of Las Islas Marinas, Mexico, and it is 255 miles southwest of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico.

The NHC also predict that additional strengthening of Hurricane Willa is expected today, meaning that it could reach Category 5 status later today.

It said the storm could produce risky storm surge, while dumping 5 to 10 inches (12.5 to 25 centimetres) of rain across parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa states, with lesser amounts falling as it moves inland.

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An aftershock, registering a magnitude of 6.5, followed about six minutes later, the USGS said. The USGS did not predict damage from the quakes, forecasting they would be felt only lightly .

The Miami-based center believes Willa will come ashore on Tuesday afternoon or evening but also reported it could hit Wednesday with a storm surge as "large and destructive waves" join the weather system.

A hurricane warning was posted for Mexico's western coast between San Blas and Mazatlan, including the Islas Marias, a nature reserve and federal prison directly in the forecast track of the storm.

The landfall is most likely to be along the southwestern coast of mainland Mexico by late Tuesday between north of Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta.

Farther inland, Willa is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches across portions of Zacateca, Durango, southeast Chihuahua, and Coahuila in Mexico, with local amounts up to 6 inches possible.

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.

"This rainfall will cause life-threatening flash flooding and landslides", it added.

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