Hurricane Willa a Category 4 storm in Pacific off Mexico


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 grew into a potentially catastrophic Category 5 storm and swept toward Mexico's Pacific coast with winds of 160 miles per hour (260 kph) Monday, threatening a stretch of high-rise resort hotels, surfing beaches and fishing villages.

Hurricane Willa strengthened to a powerful Category 5 storm Monday morning, taking aim at the Mexican coast and threatening to deliver life-threatening storm surge, wind and rain.

Hurricane force winds extended out 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the storm's core and tropical storm force winds were up to 90 miles (145 kilometers) out.

Willa was about 225 miles (365 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph (220 kph).

The NHC also predict that additional strengthening of Hurricane Willa is expected today, meaning that it could reach Category 5 status later today.

Willa is expected to make landfall on Mexico's south-western coast on Tuesday and is "potentially catastrophic", the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) warned.

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It will then weaken slightly before making landfall but will still be a unsafe hurricane when it does hit.

"This rainfall will cause life-threatening flash flooding and landslides", it added.

Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

A hurricane watch was posted for a stretch of shore between San Blas and Mazatlan, while a tropical storm warning was in effect from Playa Perula to San Blas.

Farther inland, Willa is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches across portions of Zacateca, Durango, southeast Chihuahua, and Coahuila in Mexico, with local amounts up to 6 inches possible.

Willa is then expected to weaken after passing over the Sierra Madre mountains, and the remnants of the storm will likely will bring significant rainfall to Texas.