'Extremely Threatening' Hurricane Willa Heads For Mexico's Pacific Coast

'Extremely Threatening' Hurricane Willa Heads For Mexico's Pacific Coast

'Extremely Threatening' Hurricane Willa Heads For Mexico's Pacific Coast

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

Hurricane Willa has intensified into a near-Category 5 storm in the Pacific - and is on track to slam into the western coast of Mexico by the middle of the week, officials said.

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).

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Hurricane force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the storm's core and tropical storm force winds were up to 90 miles (150 kilometers) out.

Willa had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (249 kph) early Monday and was centered about 195 miles (315 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes. "Some slight strengthening is possible today, and Willa could become a category 5 hurricane later this morning", the agency said.

The landfall is most likely to be along the southwestern coast of mainland Mexico by late Tuesday between north of Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta.

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It will then weaken slightly before making landfall but will still be a risky hurricane when it does hit. Currently, the NHC predicts that life-threatening storm surges, severe winds and torrential rainfall will impact areas of west-central and southwestern Mexico.

The Miami-based center believes Willa will come ashore on Tuesday afternoon or evening but also reported it could hit Wednesday with a storm surge as "large and destructive waves" join the weather system.

A hurricane warning has also been issued for Mexico's western coast between San Blas and Mazatlan.

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The storm is expected to weaken when it makes landfall Tuesday but is forecast to bring large waves, unsafe storm surge, gusty winds and heavy rain. A tropical storm warning is in effect for another 190 miles of coast, from San Blan to Playa Perula.

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