Mexico’s west coast is on weather watch today as a newly-formed hurricane in the Pacific barrels towards Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and other nearby communities.
Hurricane Willa was about 340 km south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes late Sunday (Oct 21) when it registered as a Category 4 storm. It’s expected to make landfall on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
The U.S. National Hurricane Centre reports that Willa is rapidly gaining force, with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (255 kph) – the same windspeed Hurricane Michael had when it made landfall in Florida recently.
The centre forecasts 12.5 to 25 cm of rain across parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa states, with lesser amounts falling as it moves inland.
The storm centre also predicts that Willa could potentially become a “life-threatening” Category 5 storm later today, generating dangerous surf and rip tide conditions over portions of west-central and southwestern Mexico.
STORM PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY
Vancouver-based travel agent Leslie Cade-Polidoro, who is currently staying at the Crown Paradise Golden in Puerto Vallarta, told PAX that news of the impeding storm “has scared me a bit.”
“They have put up the red flags on the beach and closed the beach bar,” Cade-Polidoro wrote PAX in a message over Facebook this morning.
Cade-Polidoro wrote that her hotel has “sandbagged a number of areas where water could get [in].” However, weather-wise, “Right now nothing is happening, it’s just rainy," she said.
Reports indicate that Willa’s force winds extend 45 km from the storm's core and tropical storm force winds are up to 150 km out.
Farther south, tropical storm Vicente weakened but is still expected to produce heavy rainfall and flooding over parts of southern and southwestern Mexico.
By early Monday, Vicente’s core was about 310 km southeast of Acapulco with sustained winds of 75 kph.