Category three Hurricane Willa is set to slam Mexico's west coast with "life-threatening storm surge, wind, and rainfall," according to the National Hurricane Centre.

Although Willa's intensity has been on a downward trend since it peaked as a Category five storm with 257km/h winds, it continues to be quite dangerous, packing sustained winds of 200km/h.

As of today, the violent core of Willa was passing through Las Islas Marias on its way towards the coast.

Las Islas Marias is a small group of islands a little more than 95km offshore.

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It is minimally inhabited by a federal prison.

From the islands, Willa's slow forward pace of 9.5km/h is predicted to accelerate, bringing the storm ashore somewhere near Isla del Bosque at about noon NZT.

"An extremely dangerous storm surge is likely along portions of the coast of southwestern Mexico in southern Sinaloa and Nayarit, especially near and to the south of where the centre of Willa makes landfall," the Hurricane Centre wrote in its morning update.