Monday, 19 November, 2018

'Potentially catastrophic' Hurricane Willa nears Mexico

Hurricane Willa Grows Rapidly off Mexico's Pacific Coast Hurricane Willa a Category 4 storm in Pacific off Mexico
Stacy Houston | 23 October, 2018, 00:20

Hurricane Willa has grown into a "potentially catastrophic" Category 5 storm in eastern Pacific Ocean, on a path to pummel Mexico's western coast between late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

It was about 280 miles (450 kilometers) south-southwest of the port city of Manzanillo on Saturday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph).

Almost three years ago to the day, Hurricane Patricia, one of the most powerful storms on record, struck Mexico's Pacific coast with winds that tore down trees, moved cars and forced thousands of people to flee homes.

On the other hand, the hurricane Vicente would stay offshore or near the southern coast of Mexico, weakening to a tropical depression through Tuesday morning.

The governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit states ordered coastal region schools to close on Monday (Tuesday NZT) and began preparing emergency shelters ahead of the onslaught.

As of midday Monday, Willa was centered about 135 miles south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes and was moving at 7 mph.

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Willa is likely to bring extremely risky storm surge along portions of the coast of southwestern Mexico by Tuesday or Tuesday night, especially in the area where the hurricane makes landfall. It is still likely to be an extremely risky hurricane when it hits.

A hurricane warning is in effect for 180 miles of Mexican Pacific coast between San Blas and Mazatlan.

"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion", the center warned residents living on Mexico's coast between San Blas and Mazatlan. The centre said Willa is expected make landfall late on Tuesday or early on Wednesday (Wednesday NZT).

"Vicente is moving toward the west-northwest near 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) and a turn to the northwest is expected today followed by a turn to the north-northwest on Tuesday", the agency said.

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. 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. The ocean waters off the western coast of Mexico are now running 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit above average for late October.

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