MEXICO CITY—Hurricane Willa weakened slightly Monday afternoon in the Pacific Ocean, but remained a dangerous Category 4 storm as it headed toward Mexico’s western coast with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.
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Authorities in Nayarit, Sinaloa and Jalisco states closed schools in some municipalities and began setting up shelters.
The storm, which had reached the Category 5 level, was located about 110 miles southwest of Cabo Corrientes, to the south of Puerto Vallarta, around 5 p.m. ET, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Further gradual weakening is expected over the next day or so, but the storm will still likely reach land as a major hurricane, bringing a life-threatening storm surge, wind, and rain, the hurricane center said. The storm is expected to dump six to 12 inches of rain on parts of Nayarit, Jalisco and Sinaloa, and then to weaken quickly over Mexico’s mountainous terrain.
Roberto Ramírez de la Parra, head of Mexico’s National Water Commission, said Willa will probably reach land Tuesday evening with winds around 180 kilometers per hour (112 mph), enough to knock down trees, power lines, and outdoor signs, but unlikely to destroy houses.
“It’s a major hurricane; 180 kilometers per hour is not a minor thing,” he said at a News conference Monday afternoon. “It’s an intense hurricane, and people should pay attention to civil protection services in order to take the necessary precautions.”
There is risk of storm surge in a low-lying area of Mazatlán, a resort city in Sinaloa, where authorities will try to persuade people to move to higher ground, he said.
Luis Felipe Puente, the national head of civil protection, warned people against trying to cross streams or rivers during and after the storm—and said business activities should be closed by 3 p.m. Tuesday to give people time to take shelter.
Tropical Storm Vicente, which was offshore further south, barely remained a tropical storm and is expected to dissipate soon, the National Hurricane Center said. The system is expected to reach land Tuesday as a tropical depression, but still presents the risk of flooding in parts of Guerrero, Michoacán, Colima, and Jalisco.
Write to Anthony Harrup at [email protected]
Source : WSJ