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Hurricane Willa grows rapidly off Mexico’s Pacific coast

By AP

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(AP) — A newly formed hurricane rapidly gained force off Mexico’s Pacific coast yesterday and forecasters said it could reach Category 4 status before hitting land by midweek. A hurricane watch was posted for a stretch of shore between San Blas and Mazatlan.

Hurricane Willa was about 260 miles (420 kilometres) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes at midday, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph). It was moving to the northwest at 7 mph (11 kph), but was expected to start curving toward the north-northeast.

The US National Hurricane Center said Willa is expected to become a major hurricane by this morning and near the coast by Tuesday night. It said the storm could produce dangerous 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.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Vicente appeared to be a less potent threat further south. Forecasters said it was likely to remain just offshore or near Mexico’s southern Pacific coast through Monday night and perhaps edge ashore tomorrow.

It was located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Puerto Angel with winds of 50 mph (85 kph). The Hurricane Center said it could produce 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) of rain near the coast.

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