Photo credit: National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center

Hurricane Willa becomes Category 4 storm off Pacific coast of Mexico

The National Hurricane Center said Willa could reach Cat. 4 status before hitting land midweek.

October 21, 2018 - 5:50 pm

MEXICO CITY  A newly formed hurricane rapidly gained strength off Mexico's Pacific coast Sunday and has become a major Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said it could make landfall by Tuesday. A hurricane watch was posted for a stretch of shore between San Blas and Mazatlan.

In its latest advisory, NHC said Willa was about 230 miles south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes in Mexico and moving north-northwest at 6 mph and is expected to start curving toward the north later Sunday night and Monday. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles.

The storm could produce dangerous storm surge, while dumping 5 to 10 inches of rain across parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa states, with lesser amounts falling as it moves inland, according to NHC.

Photo Credit: National Hurricane Center

The National Hurricane Center's projection of Hurricane Willa's path as of 5 p.m. ET on Sun., Oct. 21, 2018.

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

The storm was located about 230 miles southeast of Acapulco, Mexico, and moving west at about 10 mph, according to NHC. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to 40 mph with higher gusts.

The NHC said it could produce 3 to 6 inches of rain near the coast.


Peter Martinez contributed to this report.


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