Hurricane Willa: Mexico issues warning over 'extremely dangerous' storm

Greg Lawrence
October 23, 2018

In its latest update, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) placed Willa about 175 miles south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico and around 230 miles south of Las Islas Marias, Mexico.

Willa is the eastern Pacific Ocean's 10th major hurricane of the 2018 season.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Vicente appeared to be a less potent threat further south. Forecasters said it could near the central Pacific coast late Tuesday.

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 "continues to rapidly strengthen", the NHC said in an advisory, adding that Willa will likely produce a life-threatening storm surge. Although Willa is unlikely to directly hit those two population centers, several moderately sized cities are near its path, such as Escuinapa, Mexico, with roughly 30,000 residents.

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Willa is now located about 175 miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta, moving north at 7 mph.

The hurricane was expected to pass over or near the Islas Marias - a set of islands about 60 miles offshore that include a nature preserve and a federal prison - early on Tuesday, then blow ashore in the afternoon or the evening somewhere along a 140-mile (220-kilometer) section extending from the resort town of Mazatlán to San Blas. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Playa Perula to San Blas and north of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya.

As per weathermen, winds would gust at a speed of 62-117 kmph during early morning hours of Tuesday and by the latter half of the day, winds would reach up to 119 kmph along the coastline. "Coastal areas may have to contend with beach erosion and flooding at time of high tide", he said.

The Hurricane Center said it could produce 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimetres) of rain near the coast.

While Vicente is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Monday night or Tuesday, it could still produce significant rainfall and the risk of flash floods and landslides, the NHC said. The ocean waters off the western coast of Mexico are now running 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit above average for late October.

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