The next storm rising is Hurricane Willa. It is growing fast and potentially could be a Category 5 storm that is making its way to Mexico’s Pacific coast. Willa was packing winds of 160 mph on Monday and is bearing down on a stretch of high-rise resort hotels, surfing beaches and fishing villages.
The storm was expected to pass over the Islas Marias, a group of islands about 60 miles offshore. They include a nature preserve and federal prison. The storm will hit the Mexico’s coastline Tuesday afternoon or evening between the resort town of Mazatlan and San Blas, a distance of about 140 miles.
It will most likely weaken before hitting land, but still be very dangerous.
The governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit states ordered coastal region schools to close and began preparing emergency shelters.
Mazatlan has a population of about 500,000 and is a popular vacation spot. It is closer to the U.S. than most other Pacific resorts and home to a large number of American and Canadian expatriates.
The hurricane is also projected to hit Esquinapa, a town a few miles inland with almost 60,000 people in and around it.
As of the middle of the day on Monday, Willa was centered about 135 miles south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes and was moving at 7 mph.
Hurricane-force winds extended 30 miles from the storm’s center, and tropical storm-force winds were up to 105 miles beyond that.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that Willa could bring 6 to 12 inches of rain and up to 18 inches in some places, including parts of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states. Flash flooding and landslides are possible in mountainous areas.
Farther to the south, Tropical Storm Vicente weakened but was still expected to produce heavy rainfall and flooding over parts of southern and southwestern Mexico.
Stay tuned for further updates regarding how this storm might impact the west coast.