Hurricane Willa at Category 4 Strength, Expected to Slam Mexico ‘Very Soon’: NOAA Update

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October 23, 2018 Updated: October 23, 2018
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Hurricane Willa is slated to pass over Las Islas Marias, Mexico, “very soon,” said the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) in its most recent update on Oct. 23.

Willa is a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds, the NHC said. It’s slated to bring “life-threatening” conditions in only a few hours, the agency warned. Hurricane-force winds, heavy rain, and storm surge are expected in west-central Mexico.

hurricane willa slated to slam mexico
Hurricane Willa is slated to pass over Las Islas Marias, Mexico, “very soon,” said the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) in its most recent update on Oct. 23. (NHC)

The storm is only about 55 miles west-southwest of Las Islas Marias and 150 miles south-southwest of Mazatlan, Mexico, and it is moving north at 5 mph.

A hurricane warning is in effect for San Blas to Mazatlan, including Las Islas Marias. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Playa Perula to San Blas and north of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya.

“Interests elsewhere along the coasts of west-central and southwestern mainland Mexico should monitor the progress of Willa,” said the NHC.

The NHC added: “A turn toward the north- northeast is expected later this morning, followed by a faster motion toward the northeast by this evening. On the forecast track, the center of Willa will move near or over Las Islas Marias later this morning and afternoon, and make landfall within the hurricane warning area along the west-central coast of mainland Mexico late this afternoon or this evening.”

Meanwhile, the “extremely dangerous” storm will gradually weaken, it is “expected to be a dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the coast of Mexico.”

“Rapid weakening is expected after landfall tonight and continuing into Wednesday,” the agency said.

Hurricane conditions are expected on Las Islas Maria later in the day and within the hurricane warning area along the coast of mainland Mexico starting in the afternoon, the NHC added.

“Willa is expected to produce storm total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, with local amounts to 18 inches, across portions of western Jalisco, western Nayarit, southern Sinaloa, and far southern Durango in Mexico,” the NHC said, adding that landslides and flash flooding are likely.

Vicente

Elsewhere in the tropics, post-tropical cyclone Vicente continued to weaken, according to the NHC.

The system is expected to weaken inland and dissipate over the next few days.

“Vicente is moving toward the north-northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue today. On the forecast track, the center of Vicente is expected to move inland over the Mexican state of Michoacan later today. Satellite-derived wind data indicate that maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. Vicente is expected to dissipate later today or tonight after it has moved inland over Mexico,” according to a discussion of the storm.

Hurricane Michael Death Toll

Officials on Oct. 22, said that at least 39 people have been confirmed dead after Hurricane Michael hit about two weeks ago.

The Associated Press reported that 29 of those deaths occurred in Florida, namely along the Florida Panhandle.

The latest update adds four deaths from the hardest-hit coastal Bay County, Florida, bringing the total there to 19, AP reported.

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