Forecasters say newly formed Hurricane Willa has rapidly gained force and grew into an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm in the Pacific off Mexico on Sunday, on a path that could potentially bring landfall on a stretch Mexico’s western coast between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta in the coming days.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said early Monday that Willa could “produce life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall over portions of southwestern and west-central Mexico beginning on Tuesday.”
A hurricane watch was in effect for Mexico’ coast between San Blas and Mazatlan. Tropical storm warnings were raised from Playa Perula to San Blas and north of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya.
Willa had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (249 kph) early Monday and was centered about 195 miles (315 km) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes. It was moving to the north at 5 mph (8 kph).
The hurricane center estimates that total rainfall will range between 5 inches and 15 inches (12.5 cm to 38.1 cm) across stretches of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, home to Mexican white sand beach resorts of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.
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 (370 km) southeast of Acapulco.