Tropical Storms Willa and Vicente swirling off Mexico


A newly formed hurricane rapidly gained force off Mexico's Pacific coast on Sunday and forecasters said it could reach Category 4 status before hitting land by midweek A hurricane watch was posted for a stretch of shore between San Blas and Mazatlan.

Willa had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (249 kph) early Monday and was centered about 195 miles (315 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes.

"Willa is an extremely risky category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale".

Hurricane force winds extended 30 miles from the storm's core and tropical storm force winds were up to 90 miles out.

The hurricane is forecast to move toward the north-northeast and track over or very close to the Mexican islands Islas Marias on Tuesday.

Willa is expected to hit Mexico's Pacific Coast as at least a Category 3, potentially bringing life-threatening storm surge and flash floods farther inland.

Forecasters said Willa is expected to produce storm total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, with local amounts up to 18 inches, across portions of western Jalisco, western Nayarit, and southern Sinaloa in Mexico.

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It was projected to weaken somewhat before hitting land but was still expected to be extremely unsafe. The US National Hurricane Center has warned that the storm system and could "produce life threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall" in Mexico on Tuesday.

The southwestern Mexican coast is warned to brace for unsafe storm surges which will impact on Tuesday.

A hurricane warning is in effect for San Blas to Mazatlan, including Las Islas Marias.

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.

The storm is expected to weaken when it makes landfall Tuesday but is forecast to bring large waves, risky storm surge, gusty winds and heavy rain.

There are two types of warnings in place for Mexico, a Hurricane Warning and a Tropical Storm Warning.