‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Willa aims for Mexico’s west

Hurricane Willa as seen from NOAA's GOES East satellite on Sunday Oct. 21 2018.                        NOAA

Hurricane Willa as seen from NOAA's GOES East satellite on Sunday Oct. 21 2018. NOAA

Hurricane Willa has grown into a potentially catastrophic category 5 storm as it sweeps toward Mexico's Pacific coast with winds of 160mph (260kph), threatening a stretch of high-rise resort hotels, surfing beaches and fishing villages.

Image: Hurricane Willa is threatening tourist resorts in Mexico.

Hurricane Willa is forecast to accelerate forwards towards the Mexican coastline, but the NHC continues to warn that some weakening is possible prior to landfall, which makes forecasting its potential to trigger this cat bond fraught with difficulty.

Read on for a look at the powerful storm as it gets closer to Mexico and what you should know about its location.

The hurricane season in the eastern Pacific Ocean officially is the most active since 1971.

A Category 5 storm - the top level of the Saffir-Simpson hurricane and wind scale - Willa could strengthen throughout this evening.

Below is a map of all major hurricanes that passed near Willa's location as it became a Category 5.

Authorities in Nayarit, Sinaloa and Jalisco states closed schools in some municipalities and began setting up shelters.

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Rainfall of between six and 12 inches are expected to drench western Jalisco, western Nayarit, and southern Sinaloa.

The top-level category five storm is expected to be an "extremely risky major hurricane", the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said, which could produce a "life-threatening storm surge".

On its way toward landfall, Willa is moving slowly to the north at 7 miles per hour.

A depression was identified Saturday morning, then named Tropical Storm Willa a few hours later.

It was expected to produce a life-threatening unsafe storm surge, which will push of ocean water into portions of the coast, and wind and rain. Tropical storm warnings were raised from Playa Perula to San Blas and north of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 105 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Vicente - with maximum sustained winds of 75km/h - was expected to bring "heavy rainfall and flooding" over Mexico's south and southwest.

Willa's torrential downpours are also likely to produce flash flooding and landslides over large parts of southwestern and west-central Mexico, NHC added.

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