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Hurricane Willa churns toward Mexico as a ‘potentially catastrophic’ Category 5 storm

Hurricane Willa, currently churning about 155 miles south-southwest of Las Islas Marías in Mexico, has strengthened to a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 storm, the highest level of the Saffir-Simpson scale, the National Hurricane Center said Monday.

Willa is expected to dump up to 18 inches of rain over parts of Mexico and produce a life-threatening storm surge, the agency said in its latest advisory. Willa has maximum sustained winds of 160 miles an hour and is moving north at about 7 miles an hour.

The storm is expected to move over or close to the Islas Marías early Tuesday, before making landfall along the southwestern coast of mainland Mexico later in the day.

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