Hurricane Willa on Mexico’s Pacific coast becomes Category 4
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Hurricane Willa gained dangerous strength as it churned towards Mexico’s Pacific coast, home to some of the country’s major tourist draws, where it was forecast to unleash torrential rains and major flooding, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
The Miami-based centre upgraded the menacing storm to a powerful Category 4 storm on the 5-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale as it lashed out maximum sustained winds of about 130 miles per hour (209 km).
Willa is expected to come ashore on Tuesday afternoon or evening.
The hurricane “continues to rapidly strengthen,” the NHC said in an advisory, adding that Willa will likely produce a life-threatening storm surge.
Earlier, the storm was located about 225 miles (362 km) southwest of Cabo Corrientes, on the coast of Jalisco state.
The hurricane centre estimates that total rainfall will range between 5 inches and 15 inches (12.5 cm to 38.1 cm) across stretches of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, home to Mexican white sand beach resorts of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Vicente, which formed in the Pacific off southern Mexico began to weaken as it hovered along the coast of southern Mexico , located about 230 miles (370 km) southeast of Acapulco.
It had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (64 kph) and the centre of the storm would likely “remain just offshore or near the southern coast of Mexico through Tuesday morning,” according to the NHC.
Vicente is seen weakening to tropical depression status by Monday night, but could still cause significant rainfall.