Hurricane Willa makes landfall in Mexico with 120mph winds


MAZATLAN, Mexico-The center of Hurricane Willa moved over Mexico's Pacific coastline on the evening of October 23 with winds of more than 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour), buffeting buildings and dumping rain on tourist resorts where thousands of people had moved to safety.

By 2 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center had downgraded Willa to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour.

Emergency workers on Wednesday were struggling to reach beach towns left incommunicado by a blow from Hurricane Willa, and rains from the storm continued to force evacuations due to fear of flooding even as it dissipated over northern Mexico.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm's forward movement had sped up to 17 miles per hour (28 kph) late Tuesday and it was expected to rapidly weaken.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or missing people, but the storm's 120 miles per hour (195 kph) winds damaged a hospital, knocked out power, toppled wood-shack homes and ripped metal roofing off other houses in the Sinaloa state municipality of Escuinapa when it came ashore Tuesday evening.

"Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.", the hurricane center said.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Wednesday that Hurricane Willa has weakened to a tropical storm but torrential rains will continue in west-central Mexico.

Almost 102,000 homes in Sinaloa lost electricity after the storm made landfall, the head of the state electricity company said on Twitter.

"This rainfall will cause life-threatening flash flooding and landslides", the NHC warned.

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The states of Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco declared a state of alert and cancelled school state-wide. "This would bring significant amounts of rain and wind Saturday and Sunday in cities like Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston".

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

That being said, Hurricane Willa is churning at a terrifying speed, wreaking havoc on approximately 136-mile stretch of land.

Southwest Airlines canceled all flights at Puerto Vallarta's worldwide airport.

Mexican emergency officials say they've evacuated more than 4,250 people in towns along the Pacific coast that are threatened by Hurricane Willa.

Houston is used to keeping an eye on the Atlantic Ocean during hurricane season, but this week, the attention will focus on a hurricane from the Pacific Ocean.

While Hurricane Willa will not make direct contact with any American coast, the now Category 4 storm is believed to have a huge impact on weather patterns in the coming week.

There have been 10 major hurricanes this year, including Willa, tying 1992 as the most major hurricanes in the northeast Pacific in one year.