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

Long-awaited Campbell River mountain bike park close to beginning ‘Phase 1’

‘There seems to be a disconnect between where it’s at and where people think it’s at’

Campbell River’s ‘school of hack’ gives kids inside computing edge

Teachers take ‘hacking’ back to its roots with school program

UPDATED: Man survived for ‘days’ trapped in smashed truck north of Campbell River

Duncan Moffat, 23, found by hunter beside Hwy. 19 near Sayward

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Baloney Meter: Will tougher penalties for gang members make Canada safer?

Since 2013, gang-related homicides in Canada’s largest cities have almost doubled

Early data suggests no spike in pot-impaired driving after legalization: police

Some departments said it’s too early to provide data, others said initial numbers suggest stoned driving isn’t on the rise

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Most Read