Hurricane Willa Intensifies as it Barrels Towards Mexico's Western Coast

Hurricane Willa Intensifies as it Barrels Towards Mexico's Western Coast

A potential catastrophic Hurricane Willa swept toward Mexico's Pacific coast with winds of 150 miles per hour Monday, threatening a stretch of high-rise resort hotels, surfing beaches and fishing villages.

Daniel Brown, a senior hurricane specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center, said the hurricane has a small, but very distinct, eye.

Willa's landfall will come three years to the day after the strongest hurricane to hit the Pacific coast, Patricia, a Category 5 storm, made landfall in Jalisco.

The hurricane was nearing the Islas Marias, a group of islands about 60 miles (96 kilometers) offshore that include a nature preserve and a federal prison.

An "extremely dangerous" storm surge is likely along parts of the southwestern Mexico coast, the NHC says, especially "near and to the south of where the center" of the storm makes landfall.

Hurricane Willa now has sustained winds of 160 miles per hour, with higher gusts and a minimum central pressure that has declined to 925 mb, positioning the storm as sufficiently intense to activate the parametric trigger for the Fonden 2017 catastrophe bond and cause a payout.

Willa is expected to produce an extremely unsafe storm surge, pushing ocean water into portions of the coast by Tuesday.

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Hurricane-force winds extended 35 miles (55 kilometres) from the storm's core, and tropical storm-force winds were up to 125 miles (205 kilometres) out.

Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area beginning Tuesday afternoon, with tropical storm conditions expected by Tuesday morning.

- Mexico is bracing for what's expected to be one of the strongest storms to hit its Pacific coast. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Vicente, which formed in the Pacific off southern Mexico on Saturday, began to weaken while hovering along the southern Mexican coast on Sunday and by early Monday was located about 195 miles (310 km) southeast of Acapulco.

Large swells generated by Willa will continue to affect portions of the coast of southwestern and west-central Mexico during the next few days. It was moving to the north-northwest at 9 km/h, but a turn towards the north was likely during tomorrow. That could cause life-threatening flash flooding.

There were 10 major hurricanes this year, including Willa, which ties 1992 as the most major hurricanes seen in the northeast Pacific in one year, CNN said.

Farther to the south, the remnants of Tropical Storm Vicente continued to bring heavy rain that caused risky flooding in southern and southwestern Mexico. The hurricane centre said it could produce 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimetres) of rain in parts of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco states.

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