'Extremely dangerous' Hurricane Willa barrelling towards Mexico

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As of 8 a.m. Monday, Willa's maximum sustained winds were clocked at 155 miles per hour - the same windspeed Hurricane Michael had at landfall in Florida and just 2 miles per hour shy of a Cat-5, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

This image provided by NOAA on Monday shows Hurricane Willa in the eastern Pacific, on a path to smash into Mexico's western coast.

Hurricane Willa has continued to strengthen off Mexico's Pacific coast, becoming a powerful category five storm as it moves closer to land, USA forecasters say.

It was located about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southeast of Puerto Angel with winds of 50 mph (85 kph).

At the time of landfall, the wind shear could pick up prompting debilitating of the system, however, it should still remain a strong and risky hurricane while moving inland late Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Willa is now located about 175 miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta, moving north at 7 mph. A hurricane warning has also been issued for Mexico's western coast between San Blas and Mazatlan.

The storm is around 190km southwest of the Pacific town of Cabo Corrientes and "is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it reaches the coast of Mexico", the NHC said.

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Hurricane-force winds can be expected outward of up to 30 miles from the center of the storm; tropical-storm-force winds can extend outward of up to 105 miles.

Forecasters said it was expected to weaken into a tropical depression Monday night or early Tuesday while moving nearer to Mexico's southern Pacific shore.

A hurricane warning is in effect for 180 miles of Mexican Pacific coast between San Blas and Mazatlan.

The US National Hurricane Center warned that Willa could bring 15 to 45 cm in some places - to parts of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, with flash flooding and landslides possible in mountainous areas.

The Hurricane Center said it could produce 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimetres) of rain near the coast.

The SMN urged residents to "exercise extreme caution" as recent rains have softened the soil in some areas, and Willa's downpours could cause landslides, flooding and damage to roadways.