Hurricane Willa Lashes Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Pablo Tucker
October 25, 2018

The center of Hurricane Willa and the storm's hurricane-force winds were nearly ashore, but first ravaging waves were battering the coast in Nayarit and Sinaloa states, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Willa slammed into Mexico's Pacific coast late on Tuesday, raking it with winds of 120 miles per hour (195 kph) that brought power outages, buffeted buildings, and dumped torrential rain on tourist resorts where thousands of people had moved to safety.

A general view shows the sea along the Mazatlan coast as Hurricane Willa approaches the Pacific beach resort, Mexico on October 23, 2018.

According to the United States based National Hurricane Centre, areas in the path of the storm could be hit by up to 18 inches of rain.

Farther to the south, the remnants of Tropical Storm Vicente continued to bring heavy rain that caused deadly flooding and mudslides.

Willa came ashore about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Mazatlan, a resort city that is home to high-rise hotels and about 500,000 people, including many USA and Canadian expatriates.

On Tuesday morning, the storm swirled 35 miles southwest of the Islas Maria, a group of islands about 60 miles offshore.

Thousands were evacuated from coastal areas before the hurricane arrived.

MAZATLAN, Mexico Hurricane Willa roared over an offshore penal colony and closed in on Mexico's Pacific coast with 120 miles per hour winds today, threatening a major resort area along with fishing villages and farms.

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

Although hotels, restaurants and stores were boarded over, people ventured onto Mazatlan's coastal boulevard to watch a spectacular sunset as the hurricane obscured the sky to the south. Federal authorities declined to comment on precautions that were taken at the prison, citing security concerns.

Speaking by telephone, Jose Garcia, another resident of the hardest-hit area, said he had hunkered down with others in an Escuinapa hotel waiting for the storm to pass, listening to it rattle buildings as it drove onwards. "Everything is closed", Hernandez said.

Torrential rains began in the afternoon, and emergency officials said they had evacuated more than 4,250 people in coastal towns and set up 58 shelters ahead of the risky storm. Schools were ordered closed.

In the coastal city of Mazatlan, a major tourist hub, 182 people took refuge in the city's main convention centre which had been turned into a shelter.

Bob Swanson, who is from Saskatchewan, Canada, and spends two to six months of the year in his house in the Cerritos neighborhood near the shore in Mazatlan, said he filled his washing machine with water, filled his home fuel tank and gassed up his auto in case he needs to head into the mountains for safety.

Other reports by iNewsToday