Hurricane Willa Tracker, Models: NOAA Forecast Path Puts Storm Into Mexico, Texas

Hurricane Willa is a major storm, currently a Category 4, that will hit Mexico and likely move inland to southern Texas, thrashing with "life-threatening" storm surge and flash flooding rainfall. Hurricane Willa may hit Mexico at major hurricane strength before moving into Texas and the southwest U.S. as a rain-making tropical depression late this week, according to NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Willa, which reached Category 5 intensity at 11 a.m. EDT Monday before weakening slightly back to a Category 4 by 5 p.m. EDT Monday, is headed to landfall in Mexico on Tuesday afternoon or evening along the southwestern coast of mainland Mexico, anywhere from near Mazatlán to the north of Puerto Vallarta, according to weather.com.

A hurricane warning is in effect from San Blas to Mazatlán, including Las Islas Marias, officials said. A tropical storm warning is in effect from Playa Perula to San Blas and from north of Mazatlán to Bahia Tempehuaya. After that, Hurricane Willa may track into Texas as a tropical depression on Thursday into early Friday, bringing heavy rain. Wind shear is likely to weaken Hurricane Willa as it approaches land but ti will still be formidable in terms of rainfall., the National Hurricane Center said.

"Increasing southwesterly shear on Tuesday is likely to cause some additional weakening, and the NHC intensity forecast has been adjusted accordingly, however, Willa is forecast to remain a dangerous major hurricane through landfall," the National Hurricane Center said in its latest forecast update Monday night. "Rapid weakening will occur Tuesday night as Willa moves over the mountainous terrain of Mexico, and the cyclone is expected to dissipate on Wednesday. Moisture from the remnants of Willa is forecast to spread northeastward over northern Mexico and portions of Texas where a swath of heavy rainfall is expected midweek."

The risks from Hurricane Willa, according to the latest National Hurricane Center forecast, include:

"A life-threatening storm surge is expected Tuesday along the coasts of the Isla Marias, and west-central and southwestern Mexico near the path of Willa. Residents should rush preparations to completion to protect life and property and follow any advice given by local officials.

"Everyone in Isla Marias, and within the hurricane warning area along the coast of west-central Mexico should prepare for life-threatening major hurricane winds associated with the core of Willa. Hurricane force winds will also extend inland across the mountainous areas of west-central Mexico as Willa moves inland.

"Heavy rainfall from Willa is likely to produce life-threatening flash flooding and landslides over much of southwestern and west-central Mexico."

Hurricane Willa experienced rapid intensification Monday, but the storm is expected to make landfall in Mexico Tuesday as a powerful force. Hurricane Willa is forecast to have maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour before moving inland at tropical storm strength Wednesday across northern Mexico before moving into southern Texas Thursday as a tropical depression.

Hurricane Willa, despite its strong approach to Mexico, is expected to dissipate, forecasters said, but its remnant could produce rain across Texas after it drenches Mexico with massive rain that can cause flooding.

"Locally, up to 18 inches of rain is possible in western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa in Mexico, according to the NHC. Up to 6 inches of rain is possible farther inland across Zacateca, Durango, southeastern Chihuahua and Coahuila," weather.com reported.

According to forecasters at the Weather Channel, Hurricane Willa's "winds increased by an additional 25 mph during the following three hours from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. EDT Sunday. At 11 a.m. EDT Monday, Willa became a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. That means Willa's winds increased from 40 mph when it was first named Saturday at 11 a.m. EDT to 160 mph just 48 hours later."

Hurricane Willa Tracker, Models: NOAA Forecast Path Puts Storm Into Mexico, Texas | U.S.