Hurricane Willa weakened rapidly into a tropical depression on Wednesday after slamming into a stretch of beach towns, fishing villages and farms along Mexico's Pacific coast as a Category 3storm, though it continued to dump torrential rains over west-central Mexico.
In the northern Gulf of Mexico an area of low pressure is developing that will merge with the remnants of Willa and produce increased rain chances in the latter part of the week.
Forecasters said Category 3 Hurricane Willa made landfall on Mexico's coast near the town of Isla del Bosque in the state of Sinaloa. It's heading to the north-northeast at 10 miles per hour (17kph), barreling toward a stretch of land south of the beach resort city.
Willa briefly reached Category 5 strength, then weakened a bit to Category 4.
Two young men smoke and play their guitars as they wait for the landfall of Hurricane Willa in Mazatlan, Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018.
Civil defense director Luis Felipe Puente said at a televised news conference that 58 shelters had been set up for evacuees, although a lot of them took refuge with friends and relatives.
Early Tuesday, Willa was centered about 75 miles southwest of the Islas Marias and 175 miles south-southwest of Mazatlan.
Officials said 7,000 to 8,000 people were being evacuated from low-lying areas, mostly in Sinaloa state.
The town mayor, Hugo Moreno, said rescue workers were still trying to communicate with several seaside communities.
"Willa is expected to produce storm total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, with local amounts to 18 inches across portions of western Jalisco, western Nayarit, southern Sinaloa, and far southern Durango in Mexico", the hurricane center added.
Jose Garcia, a 60 year-old resident of Escuinapa near the storm's path, described the hurricane as "really strong". Thousands of people were evacuated, and schools closed on Mexico's Pacific coast Tuesday ahead of Willa's gales and downpours.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the risky Category 3 storm hit near Isla del Bosque in Sinaloa state, and federal officials said there were early reports of power blackouts in some places and damage to flimsy structures with tin roofs. American Airlines canceled all flights from Mazatlan.
It's too early to tell for certainty if this will affect SC, but so far the forecast shows no impact for our area, said the service said Thursday morning.
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