Hurricane Willa Grows Rapidly off Mexico's Pacific Coast

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"Slight weakening is forecast to begin on Tuesday, but Willa is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it reaches the coast of Mexico", the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Monday.

By early Monday, Willa had maximum sustained winds of 160mph - the same wind speed Hurricane Michael had at landfall in Florida - and was centered 135miles south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes.

A "potentially catastrophic" Category-5 hurricane is moving quickly through the Pacific Ocean and is predicted to pound western Mexico's shores on Tuesday, according to the US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

It's forecast to unleash torrential rains and major flooding, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

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Hurricane warnings are in place from San Blas to Mazatlan.

The center said Willa is expected to "produce life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall over portions of southwestern and west-central Mexico beginning on Tuesday.' It will also spawn life-threatening surf and rip tide conditions".

WestJet has issued a travel advisory for passengers flying in or out of Puerto Vallarta as Hurricane Willa reaches Category 5 status off the Pacific coast of Mexico. It was moving to the north-northwest at 6 miles per hour (9 kph), but a turn toward the north was likely during the night or Monday.

Willa is expected to douse coastal states Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa with 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) of rain, likely triggering flash floods and landslides, the NHC said.

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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.

On Monday, Hurricane Willa was approaching the Mexican coast as a Category 5 storm, but by Friday, its remnants could bring winds and erosion to Maryland beaches and the season's first snow in the Appalachians.

Image: Hurricane Willa is threatening tourist resorts in Mexico. The additional rainfall could cause additional flooding in already saturated areas.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Vicente, which formed in the Pacific off southern Mexico on Saturday, began to weaken as it hovered along the coast of southern Mexico on Sunday, located about 230 miles south-east of Acapulco.

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