Puerto Vallarta under Tropical Storm Watch

A newly formed hurricane rapidly gained force off Mexico’s Pacific coast on Sunday 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.

Willa is tracking northwestward but is expected to slowly recurve toward the northeast by Tuesday and should approach landfall in northern Mexico late Tuesday into Wednesday. Landfall of the circulation center is expected anywhere from near or north of Mazatlán to near Puerto Vallarta.

Hurricane Willa was about 270 miles (435 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes Sunday morning with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (155 kph).

UPDATE:HURRICANE WILLA IS NOW A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Willa could become a major hurricane by Monday 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 centimeters) of rain across parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa states, with lesser amounts falling as it moves inland.

Those in low-lying areas near the coast where Willa is forecast to push inland should seek higher ground due to the threat of dangerous storm surge flooding.

Where the core of Willa’s most intense winds roar ashore there will likely be tree damage, power outages and structural damage.

After dissipating over Mexico’s mountainous terrain, the remnant upper-level energy and moisture from Willa could eventually enhance rainfall in Texas and perhaps the northern Gulf Coast Wednesday into Thursday.

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 on Tuesday.

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.