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

Just Posted

BC Ferries confirms Northern Sea Wolf ready for summer season

The plan is to have the Northern Sea Wolf assume the mid-coast service as of May 18

Historic building in Alexis Creek destroyed by fire overnight

“If it hadn’t been a heavy rain last night we could have lost many houses in the area”

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

OP-ED: Striking a balance with the oil tanker moratorium

Dennis Patterson, Senator for Nunavut, on protecting Canada’s environment and economy with Bill C-48

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read