This GOES East satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Willa in the eastern Pacific, on a path toward Mexico’s Pacific coast on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (NOAA via AP)

Dangerous Cat 4 Hurricane Willa closing in on Mexico coast

Officials said 7,000 to 8,000 people were being evacuated from low-lying areas, mostly in Sinaloa state

Authorities rushed to evacuate low-lying areas and set up shelters as an “extremely dangerous” Hurricane Willa with winds of 130 mph (215 kph) headed toward a Tuesday afternoon landfall along a stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coast dotted with high-rise resorts, surfing beaches and fishing villages.

Farther south, meanwhile, Mexican officials reported late Monday that there had been 12 deaths related to heavy rains from Tropical Storm Vicente.

Willa briefly reached Category 5 strength, then weakened a bit to Category 4. But the U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that it still was likely to bring “life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall” to parts of west-central and southwestern Mexico.

Workers taped up windows in hotels and officials ordered schools closed in a low-lying region where towns sit amid farmland tucked between the sea and lagoons. A decree of “extraordinary emergency” was issued for 19 municipalities in Nayarit and Sinaloa states, the federal Interior Department announced.

RELATED: Category 5 Hurricane Willa threatens Mexico’s Pacific coast

Officials said 7,000 to 8,000 people were being evacuated from low-lying areas, mostly in Sinaloa state.

The hurricane was nearing the Islas Marias, a group of islands about 60 miles (96 kilometres) offshore that include a nature preserve and a federal prison. Forecasters said Willa would then blow ashore in late afternoon somewhere along a 140-mile (220-kilometre) stretch from the resort city of Mazatlan to San Blas.

While was likely to weaken somewhat, forecasters said it still was expected to be a powerful Category 3 storm when it hits land.

Enrique Moreno, mayor of Escuinapa, a municipality of about 60,000 people lying on Willa’s potential track, said officials were trying to evacuate everybody in the seaside village of Teacapan. He estimated 3,000 were affected but he expected some would try to stay.

“The people don’t want to evacuate, but it’s for their security,” he said.

About 60 miles (100 kilometres) up the coast in Mazatlan, with a metropolitan-area population of about 500,000, Mayor Jose Joel Boucieguez said officials prepared shelters and were closely monitoring low-lying areas. Mazatlan is a popular vacation spot and home to a large number of American and Canadian expatriates.

Early Tuesday, Willa was centred about 75 miles (120 kilometres) southwest of the Islas Marias and 175 miles (280 kilometres) south-southwest of Mazatlan. It was moving north at 5 mph (7 kph), but was forecast to make a turn to the northeast.

Hurricane-force winds extended 35 miles (55 kilometres) from the storm’s core, and tropical storm-force winds were up to 125 miles (205 kilometres) out.

The U.S. hurricane centre warned that Willa could bring 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimetres) of rain — with up to 18 inches (45 centimetres) in some places — to parts of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, with flash flooding and landslides possible in mountainous areas.

Farther to the south, Tropical Storm Vicente had weakened to a tropical depression early Tuesday, but it was still bringing heavy rainfall that caused dangerous flooding in southern and southwestern Mexico.

Officials in Oaxaca state said seven adults and five children had lost their lives in drownings or mudslides.

The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Manny’s Motel’ badly damaged by fire Jan. 15

Police say 40 Ave. closed due to fire, use alternate route

From courthouse to council’s house

Old courthouse had long history before becoming City Hall

Revenue Canada, RCMP don’t accept Bitcoin: police

RCMP issue Bitcoin warning posters

Writer says Alberta highway system falling apart

Highways in ‘deplorable’ condition: writer

County council denies request for parking lot

Buck Lake groups are welcome to raise funds and return to council

Rebels fight back from 3-1 Raider lead to win 4-3 in shootout

Two goals by Zak Smith key to Rebels comeback

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

RCMP Major Crimes Unit lays charges in Stettler death

Nicholas Climb Johnson, 32, of Stettler is charged with second degree murder in the death of his father

Metis nations ask Ottawa to negotiate directly with them, not national body

Three provincial Metis nations will work through the national council until after the federal government releases its 2020 budget

Most Read