The Pacific coast of Mexico is set to receive a wallop late Tuesday night from what has become a Category 5 storm dubbed Hurricane Willa by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC). A Pacific western-oriented hurricane is a rare event since most hurricanes form in the Atlantic and normally affect the Caribbean, Central America, and the south-eastern areas of the United States.
The NHC has measured Willa's strength to maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, though it’s projected to weaken a bit before making a direct hit somewhere between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta late Tuesday.
When it hits, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) expects major damage calling the storm, "potentially catastrophic."
"A satellite image of the storm shows its well-defined eye"
Willa fulfills a prediction by the NOAA in May of 2018, forecasting a "70-percent probability of 14 to 20 named storms, of which 7 to 12 are expected to become hurricanes, including 3 to 7 major hurricanes." In addition to the damage from sustained winds, flooding and storm surges could cause damage all along the coast.
Indeed, there is another tropical storm on the heels of Willa named Vincente which is located a couple hundred miles south-southeast of Acapulco, and also expected to cause wide-spread problems along Mexico's west coast.
The storms are expected to affect the Honduran migrants that are currently on their way to the U.S. border after having crossed from Guatemala into Mexico.