Hurricane Willa Strengthens to Category 5 Storm, Aims for Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Hurricane Willa Grows Rapidly off Mexico's Pacific Coast

Authorities rushed to evacuate low-lying areas and set up shelters as an "extremely dangerous" Hurricane Willa with winds of 145 miles per hour (230 kph) headed toward a Tuesday afternoon landfall along a stretch of Mexico's Pacific coast dotted with high-rise resorts, surfing beaches and fishing villages.

Willa now has maximum sustained winds of 260 kph.

An employee reinforces glass panels of a hotel in Mazatlan as a precautionary measure before the Hurricane Willa makes landfall.

The government of Mexico issued a hurricane warning from San Blas northward to Mazatlan, and a tropical storm warning from Playa Perula northward to San Blas and from north of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya.

It had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour and the centre of the storm would likely "remain just offshore or near the southern coast of Mexico through Tuesday morning", according to the NHC.

"While gradual weakening is forecast today, Willa is expected to be a risky major hurricane when it reaches the coast of Mexico".

It's located about 135 miles south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes and is heading north board the Mexican coast south of the popular vacation city Mazatlan at 7 mph.

Willa is expected to produce an extremely risky storm surge, pushing ocean water into portions of the coast by Tuesday. Farther inland, Willa is expected to produce rainfall amount of 2 to 4 inches across portions of Zacateca, Durango, southeast Chihuahua, and Coahuila in Mexico, with local amounts to 6 inches possible.




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.

The NHC said the storm will weaken rapidly after landfall and into Wednesday.

Tropical storm conditions could arrive as early as Tuesday morning and by the afternoon, hurricane conditions will develop along the same stretch of the coastline.

Mexico's Pacific coast is set to be pounded on Tuesday by two storms headed its way, both of them having distinct characteristics.

The storm is expected to approach the southwestern coast of Mexico on Tuesday. Even so, its remnants are likely to help spawn a significant East Coast storm system heading into the coming weekend.

It's forecast to unleash torrential rains and major flooding, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

While Willa is expected to weaken before making landfall, it may still pose major hazards.

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