Hurricane Willa threatens Mexico's Pacific coast

2018-10-23 06:42

A potential catastrophic Hurricane Willa swept toward Mexico's Pacific coast with winds of 230kph on Monday night, threatening a stretch of high-rise resort hotels, surfing beaches and fishing villages.

Farther south, Mexican officials reported 12 deaths related to heavy rains from Tropical Storm Vicente.

After briefly reaching Category 5 strength, Willa's maximum sustained winds weakened some. But it remained "extremely dangerous" and was forecast to bring "life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall" to parts of west-central and southwestern Mexico ahead of an expected Tuesday landfall, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Hotel workers started taping up windows, and officials began evacuating people and shuttered schools in a low-lying landscape 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.

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

The hurricane was expected to pass over or near the Islas Marias - a set of islands about 96km offshore that include a nature preserve and a federal prison - early on Tuesday.

Forecasters said Willa would then blow ashore in the afternoon or evening somewhere along a 220km stretch extending from the resort town of Mazatlan to San Blas.

It was projected to weaken somewhat before hitting land but was still expected to be extremely dangerous.

Yamile Bustamante, assistant general manager at the Crown Plaza de Mazatlan, said hotel executives were not ruling out the possibility of evacuating guests but were awaiting instructions from authorities.

The governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit ordered coastal region schools to close and began preparing emergency shelters.

Enrique Moreno, mayor of Escuinapa, a municipality of about 60 000 people on Willa's 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 100km 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.

The US Hurricane Center warned that Willa could bring 15 to 30cm of rain - with up to 45cm in some places - to parts of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, with flash flooding and landslides possible in mountainous areas.

Farther south, Tropical Storm Vicente weakened and was expected to dissipate soon, but it still dropped 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.


KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    mexico  |  hurricane

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

IT Manager (contract)

Cape Town CBD
Communicate Cape Town IT
R330 000.00 - R458 000.00 Per Year

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.