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

MEXICO CITY: Hurricane Willa has grown rapidly into an “extremely
dangerous” near-Category 5 storm in the eastern Pacific, on a path to
smash into Mexico’s western coast between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta
by Wednesday.

The governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit states ordered coastal region
schools to close on Monday and began preparing emergency shelters ahead
of the onslaught.

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.” It predicted
that Willa could become a Category 5 hurricane later Monday, generating
life-threatening surf and rip tide conditions.

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.

Tropical storm warnings ranged from Playa Perula north to San Blas and
from Mazatlan north to Bahia Tempehuaya. The center said Willa is
expected make landfall late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

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 200 miles (325 kilometers) south-southwest of the
Islas Marias and 155 miles (250 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo
Corrientes. It was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph).

Hurricane force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the storm’s
core and tropical storm force winds were up to 90 miles (150
kilometers) out.

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. It warned of the danger of flash flooding and landslides in
mountainous areas.

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.

By early Monday, its core was about 195 miles (310 kilometers) southeast
of Acapulco with top sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph). The hurricane
center said it could produce 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) of
rain in parts of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco states.


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