Monday, 19 November, 2018

Storm explodes into category four hurricane off Mexico

The National Hurricane Center's projection of Hurricane Willa's path as of 5 a.m. ET on Sunday Oct. 21 2018.               National Hurricane Center The National Hurricane Center's projection of Hurricane Willa's path as of 5 a.m. ET on Sunday Oct. 21 2018. National Hurricane Center
Theresa Hayes | 22 October, 2018, 18:54

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

The center said Willa was about 175 miles south-southwest of Las Islas Marias, Mexico, and some 135 miles southwest of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico, and was moving north at about 7 mph.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said it was likely to remain well off the coast through Wednesday, when it could approach Mexico's west-central mainland as a hurricane.

Hurricane-force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the storm's center, and tropical storm-force winds were up to 105 miles (1650 kilometers) out.

At present, storm Willa is heading north-northwestwards, however, the system will gradually recurve northwards on Monday and then north-northeastwards by Tuesday.

Willa is expected to reach category 5 status on Monday - the highest classification for hurricanes.

Meanwhile, tropical storm Vicente, forecast to strike the south of Mexico, is expected to be reduced to a tropical depression by Monday night or early Tuesday.

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

The southwestern Mexican coast is warned to brace for risky storm surges which will impact on Tuesday. It would also cause torrential downpours of about 70 to 150 mm of rain in parts of Southern Mexico with over 250 mm over pockets of Guerrero, Michoaca, Colima and Jalisco causing flash flooding and landslides.

Now packing 160 miles per hour winds, some strengthening was still possible for the storm Monday, making Willa "potentially catastrophic" for Mexico, the National Hurricane Center warned.

The major resort areas of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan are under tropical storm warnings - as they are expected to face gusty winds, heavy rain and some flooding - but they are not under hurricane warnings, because the worst part of the storm is forecast to miss those popular vacation spots.

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.