Hurricane Willa has grown rapidly into an “extremely dangerous” near-Category 5 storm in the eastern Pacific.
The storm is predicted to to smash into Mexico’s western coast between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta in the coming days.
The US National Hurricane Centre said 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, generating life-threatening surf and rip tide conditions. A hurricane warning was posted for Mexico’s western coast between San Blas and Mazatlan, including Las Islas Marias.
Tropical storm warnings ranged from Playa Perula north to San Blas and from Mazatlan north to Bahia Tempehuaya. The centre said Willa is expected make landfall late on Tuesday or early on Wednesday.
By early Monday, Willa had maximum sustained winds of 155mph and was centred about 230 miles south of Las Islas Marias and 175 miles south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes. It was moving north at 7mph. Hurricane force winds extended 30 miles from the storm’s core and tropical storm force winds were up to 90 miles out.
The hurricane centre said 6-12in of rain should fall – and some places could see up to 18in — on parts of Mexico’s 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 Monday morning, its core was about 195 miles south-east of Acapulco with top sustained winds of 45 mph. The hurricane centre said it could produce 3-6in of rain in parts of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco states.