‘Extremely dangerous' Hurricane Willa aims for Mexico

Hurricane Willa as seen from NOAA's GOES East satellite on Sunday Oct. 21 2018.                        NOAA

This weekend Hurricane Willa has quickly gained strength as a Category 4 hurricane, being described as "extremely dangerous" by the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Newly formed Hurricane Willa rapidly intensified off Mexico's Pacific coast Sunday and early Monday and became a major Category 5 storm, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. As of 4 a.m. CST., Wilma had maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour - just 2 miles per hour short of a Category 5.

Hurricane force winds extended 48 kilometres from the storm's core and tropical storm force winds were up to 145 kilometres out.

It was about 280 miles (450 kilometers) south-southwest of the port city of Manzanillo on Saturday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph).

As Willa strengthened, tropical storm Vicente continued to move offshore further south and is expected to weaken to a tropical depression before reaching land late Tuesday night.

It was projected to weaken somewhat before hitting land but was still expected to be extremely risky. Currently, the NHC predicts that life-threatening storm surges, severe winds and torrential rainfall will impact areas of west-central and southwestern Mexico.

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Consequently, we can expect torrential rainfall setting off a potentially damaging storm surge over the Pacific Coast of Mexico by the middle of the week.

Willa is then expected to weaken after passing over the Sierra Madre mountains, and the remnants of the storm will likely will bring significant rainfall to Texas.

"While some weakening is forecast by tonight and Tuesday, Willa is expected to be a unsafe hurricane when it reaches the coast of Mexico late Tuesday or early Wednesday", the center said.

To add to the woes, the Tropical Storm Vicente will also threaten Mexico with heavy downpours in the coming days.

Tropical storm warnings ranged from Playa Perula north to San Blas and from Mazatlan north to Bahia Tempehuaya, according to the Hurricane Center.

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