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Hurricane Willa to hit southeast of Mazatlán Tuesday evening

Nayarit — Hurricane Willa is due to make landfall southeast of Mazatlán Tuesday evening as a Category 3 hurricane, reports the National Meteorological Service.

Willa is expected to hit land between Sinaloa and Nayarit, however, hurricane warnings remain in effect from San Blas to Mazatlán. Due to the storm’s vast circulation, populated areas outside the center landing zone are forecast to be hit with very heavy rains, that at times, will become torrential.

Strong winds with gusts in excess of 80 km/h are also likely with sea swells as high as five meters on the coasts of Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco.

According to Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft flew into Willa early Monday afternoon, but aborted the flight due to safety issues and headed back to base.

He says that satellite images from Monday showed Willa was an extremely impressive hurricane, with a prominent eye surrounded by a ring of very intense eyewall thunderstorms with cloud tops that were as cold as –80°C (–112°F).

Her tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles. He explains that in the 12 hours before landfall, Willa will encounter higher wind shear of 15 to 20 knots when the storm begins to interact with the high terrain of Mexico.

These factors should lead to steady and possibly rapid weakening just before landfall, with local forecasters saying Willa will likely land Mexico as a Category 3 hurricane Tuesday evening.

Mexico meteorological services say that Willa will make landfall south of the coast of Sinaloa at approximately 7:00 p.m., producing storm conditions in Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Durango, as well as strong storms in Baja California Sur.