CBS/AP October 21, 2018, 5:15 PM Hurricane Willa becomes Category 3 storm off Pacific coast of Mexico

Hurricane Willa as seen from NOAA's GOES Wast satellite Sun., Oct. 21, 2018.


MEXICO CITY — A newly formed hurricane rapidly gained strength off Mexico's Pacific coast Sunday and has become a major Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said it could reach Category 4 status (sustained wind speed between 130-156 mph) before hitting land midweek. A hurricane watch was posted for a stretch of shore between San Blas and Mazatlan.

NHC said Willa was about 250 miles south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes and moving north-northwest at 6 mph and is expected to start curving toward the north later Sunday night and Monday. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles.

The storm could produce dangerous storm surge, while dumping 5 to 10 inches of rain across parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa states, with lesser amounts falling as it moves inland, according to NHC.


The National Hurricane Center's projection of Hurricane Willa's path as of 5 p.m. ET on Sun., Oct. 21, 2018.

National Hurricane Center

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

The storm was located about 230 miles southeast of Acapulco, Mexico, and moving west at about 10 mph, according to NHC. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to 40 mph with higher gusts.

The NHC said it could produce 3 to 6 inches of rain near the coast.

Peter Martinez contributed to this report.