Thu | Jan 17, 2019

‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Willa aims for Mexico

Published:Monday | October 22, 2018 | 9:16 AM
This image provided by NOAA on Monday, October 22, 2018, shows Hurricane Willa in the eastern Pacific, on a path to smash into Mexico's western coast. (NOAA via AP).

MEXICO CITY (AP) — 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.

The governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit states ordered coastal region schools to close on Monday and began preparing emergency shelters ahead of the onslaught.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that Willa could “produce life-threatening storm surge, wind, and rainfall over portions of southwestern and west-central Mexico beginning on Tuesday.”

It predicted that Willa could become a Category 5 hurricane later Monday, generating life-threatening surf and rip tide conditions.

A hurricane warning was posted for Mexico’s western coast between San Blas and Mazatlan, including the Islas Marias, a nature reserve and federal prison directly in the forecast track of the storm.

Tropical storm warnings ranged from Playa Perula north to San Blas and from Mazatlan north to Bahia Tempehuaya.

The center said Willa is expected make landfall late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

By early Monday, Willa had maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour — the same windspeed Hurricane Michael had at landfall in Florida — and was centred about 200 miles south-southwest of the Islas Marias and 155 miles south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes.

It was moving north at seven miles per hour.

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