Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

`Extreme Dangerous’ Hurricane Willa heads to Mexico

Hurricane Willa as seen from NOAA's GOES East satellite on Sunday Oct. 21 2018.                        NOAA Hurricane Willa as seen from NOAA's GOES East satellite on Sunday Oct. 21 2018. NOAA
Sandra Phillips | 22 October, 2018, 18:55

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.

NHC reported torrential rains and flash-flooding as the 5-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale reading showed the hurricane had maximum sustained winds of approximately 130 miles per hour (209km).

Hurricane force winds extended out 40km from the storm's core and tropical storm force winds were up to 130km out.

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

The hurricane is forecast to move toward the north-northeast and track over or very close to the Mexican islands Islas Marias on Tuesday.

Forecasters said Willa is expected to produce storm total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, with local amounts up to 18 inches, across portions of western Jalisco, western Nayarit, and southern Sinaloa in Mexico.

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

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It was projected to weaken somewhat before hitting land but was still expected to be extremely risky.

The NHC said it could make landfall along Mexico's southwestern coast Tuesday night or Wednesday morning and bring with it a life-threatening storm surge - especially near and to the south of where the center of Willa makes landfall.

The NHC said "a risky storm surge" was also likely to affect coastal areas by Tuesday evening, adding that rain and strong winds would be accompanied by "large destructive waves".

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Vicente appeared to be a less potent threat further south. Forecasters said it was likely to remain just offshore or near Mexico's southern Pacific coast through Monday night and perhaps edge ashore on Tuesday.

A hurricane watch has been issued from San Blas to Mazatlan and north of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya.

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

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