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22 October 2018, 06:55 | Justin Tyler
The storm was about 390 kilometres southwest of Manzanillo Mexico early Sunday
CITY-Hurricane Willa strengthened into a Category 5 storm with sustained winds up to 160 miles per hour Monday as it headed toward Mexico's western coast, where it is expected to make landfall as a major hurricane Tuesday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that Willa could bring 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain - with up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) in some places - to parts of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, with flash flooding and landslides possible in mountainous areas.
"Willa is an extremely risky category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale".
Hurricane force winds extended out 40km from the storm's core and tropical storm force winds were up to 130km out.
By early Monday, Willa had maximum sustained winds of 249 km/h and was centred about 370 kilometres south of Las Islas Marias and 280 kilometres south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes.
Mexico will begin to feel the impacts of Willa late Tuesday morning and the storm is forecast to make landfall south of Mazatlan Tuesday night as a major Category 3 hurricane or higher. It predicted that Willa could become a Category 5 hurricane later Monday, generating life-threatening surf and rip tide conditions.
It said the storm could produce risky storm surge, while dumping 5 to 10 inches (12.5 to 25 centimetres) of rain across parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa states, with lesser amounts falling as it moves inland.
Consequently, we can expect torrential rainfall setting off a potentially damaging storm surge over the Pacific Coast of Mexico by the middle of the week.
A hurricane warning has been posted for Mexico's western coast between San Blas and Mazatlan, including the Islas Marias, a nature reserve and federal prison directly in the storm's projected path.
The storm is expected to weaken when it makes landfall Tuesday but is forecast to bring large waves, unsafe storm surge, gusty winds and heavy rain.
Forecasters said it was expected to weaken into a tropical depression Monday night or early Tuesday while moving nearer to Mexico's southern Pacific shore.
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