Willa roars over Mexico prison island, heads for resort area

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 24, 2018

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

Mexico braced Tuesday for the impact of Hurricane Willa as the Category 3 storm barreled toward its Pacific Coast with what forecasters warned would be potentially deadly force.

"An extremely risky storm surge is likely along portions of the coast of southwestern Mexico in southern Sinaloa and Nayarit, especially near and to the south of where the centre of Willa makes landfall", the Hurricane Centre wrote in its morning update.

Willa briefly reached Category 5 strength, then weakened a bit to Category 3, with maximum sustained winds of near 200 kph (125 mph).

Calgarian Jacqueline Koenig arrived in Puerto Vallarta, at the Now Amber Resort, Sunday and said she's keeping a close eye on the forecast.

The storm battered the Islas Marias, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) off the mainland, Tuesday morning.

The hurricane centre said 15 to 30 centimetres of rain could fall - and some places could see up to 45 centimetres - on parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa states.

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 vehicle in case he needs to head into the mountains for safety. "I come from a country where we have hurricanes and vicious storms, so I'm kind of waiting with bated breath", he told AP.

Enrique Moreno, mayor of Escuinapa, a municipality of about 60,000 people along 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.

Thousands of people have already evacuated islands and Pacific coastal regions in Mexico.

It was moving north at 7 kph (5 mph), but was forecast to make a turn to the northeast.

The core of the storm, a Category 3 hurricane with 125 miles per hour winds, passed over Las Islas Marias, Mexico, the agency said at 11 a.m. ET.

Willa is slated to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches and may produce local amounts to 18 inches, the NHC said, adding that landslides and flash flooding are likely.

Farther to the south, Tropical Storm Vicente had weakened to a tropical depression early Tuesday, but it was still bringing heavy rainfall that caused risky flooding in southern and southwestern Mexico. Last week, 11 more people died in Oaxaca, including seven children.

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