Hurricane Willa tracker LIVE: Texas BRACES as Mexico storm upgraded to CATEGORY FIVE

Hurricane Willa, was upgraded from a category 4  to category 5 level on Monday afternoon with winds of 160mph. 

National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned Willa is expected to become a “potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane” producing “life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall” over areas of west-central and southwestern Mexico.

The massive storm is on course to hit mainland Mexico between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning local time.

Up to 12 inches of rain are predicted for western Jalisco, western Nayarit and souther Sinaloa in Mexico.

But meteorologists say Texas could be drenched with up to to four inches of rainfall next week as it tracks north east.

Other parts of the US Gulf Coast are also at risk from heavy rain including Louisiana and Mississippi.

Here are the latest updates, all times in BST.

5.55pm: At least three inches forecast for South Central Texas, latest estimates say

Moisture from Hurricane Willa will produce at least three inches worth of rain in South Central Texas, The National Weather Service has said in its latest update.

The meteorological agency tweeted: “Moisture from now Category 5 Hurricane #Willa in the eastern Pacific will produce heavy rain across Texas this week.

“The 1-3 day total rainfall shows an area of 3+ inches of rain in South Central Texas.”

5.15pm update: Which areas are in the path of the hurricane?

Hurricane Willa is on course to pummel the Islas Marias, located 60 miles off Mexico’s west coast, before hitting Mazatlan and San Blas on Tuesday.

Tourist hotspot Mazatlan is home to about 500,000 including a large number of US and Canadian expats.

Esquinapa, an inland town with approximately 60,000 people, is also in the hurricane’s path.

4.50pm: Coastal region schools evacuated and emergency shelters being preparated in Mexico

The governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit have ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal region schools in the path of Hurricane Willa and have started making preparation for emergency shelters.

4.30pm update: Hurricane Willa becomes ‘potentially catastrophic’ category 5 hurricane

Hurricane Willa has strengthened to a category 5 hurricane, the strongest category on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

As of 4pm BST (9am MDT), Willa was packing 160mph winds and was moving at 7mph at it hurtled towards Mexico’s southwest coast, NHC said.

NHC said: Willa becomes a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane, expected to produce life-threatening storm surge, wind, and rainfall over portions of west-central and southwestern Mexico”.

The hurricane was located about 175 miles south-southwest of Las Islas Maria, Mexico.

3.50pm update: Willa’s projected rainfall

Up to 18 inches of rain could fall in some parts of Mexico once Willa makes landfall, according to the latest weather predictions.

NHC says the monster hurricane will produce between six and 12 inches of rainfall across western Jalisco, western Nayarit, and southern Sinaloa in Mexico.

The torrential downpours are likely to bring life-threatening flash floods and landslides.

Further inland, rainfall of between two and four inches are expected in Zacateca, Durango, southeast Chihuahua and Coahuila.

Life-threatening flash flooding is also a threat in these areas.

3.25pm update: Is Tropical Storm Vicente a threat?

While Hurricane Willa barrels towards Mexico, tropical storm Vicente is also on course to bring heavy rain to Mexico.

Currently churning over the Pacific Ocean southeast of Willa, Vicente is “expected to produce heavy rainfall and flooding over portions of southern and southwestern Mexico”.

As of 10am BST, Vicente was located about 195 miles of Acapulco, Mexico, whirling at a rate of 10mph.

It is set to approach the southwest coast of Mexico on Tuesday before dissipating quickly on Wednesday.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

3pm update: Willa latest hurricane to show ‘rapid intensification’

Hurricane Willa is the latest Atlantic hurricane to strengthen massively in a short space of time, a process known as “rapid intensification”.

NHC says rapid intensification occurs when the maximum sustained winds of a tropical cyclone increase by at least 35mph in 24 hours.

In its latest update, NHC said: “Willa is an impressive hurricane with rapid of explosive deepening having occurred over the past 48 hours.”

Wind speeds leapt from 40mph to 155mph within 48 hours, according to the NWS.

The meteorological service tweeted: “From 40 mph Tropical Storm to 155 mph Hurricane in 48hrs, Willa is another example of rapid intensification in a tropical cyclone. Wind shear will weaken the storm slightly before landfall Tue, but Willa will bring life-threatening storm surge and winds to the Mexico coast.”

2.25pm: Willa could ‘spawn nor’easter’, National Weather Service warns

Rainfall from Hurricane Willa which hits the central United States could create a nor’easter over the Atlantic coast by next weekend, meteorologists have said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted: “#Willa, now a major hurricane in the eastern Pacific could lead to more heavy rain across Texas by the middle of this week. The associated moisture will then interact with a stationary front and possibly spawn a nor’easter off/near the Mid-Atlantic coast by next weekend.”

A nor’easter is a massive storm along the United States East Coast, usually accompanied by heavy rain or snow.

2.15pm update: Latest hurricane warnings by NHC

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…

* San Blas to Mazatlan, including Las Islas Marias

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

* Playa Perula to San Blas

* North of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya

A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are expected within the indicated areas within the next 36 hours.

A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning zones.

2.10pm update: 2018 Eastern Pacific Hurricane season “most active” on record

The 2018 Eastern Pacific hurricane season is now classed as the “most active” one on record, according to weather experts.

Out of 22 named storms in 2018, 12 have developed into strong hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Nine of these were a “major” hurricane with winds of 111mph or more.

The data aas compiled by Dr Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University who measured the storms using a measurement called ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy).

ACE measures the length and strength of tropical storms – this season’s total was 295.5 as of October 20 – double the usual entire season average of 121.

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1.55pm update: Where is Hurricane Willa now?

Willa was located about 200 miles south-southwest of Las Islas Marias (Mary Islands) in Mexico at 1pm BST (6am local time).

The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of 155mp and was swirling through the Pacific Ocean at 7mph.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for San Blas to Mazatlan, including Las Islas Marias