Willa Weakens After Making Landfall on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, But Beach Towns Remain Cut Off
Emergency workers and federal troops struggled to reach beach towns left incommunicado by a blow from Hurricane Willa, and the storm continued to force evacuations Wednesday due to fear of flooding even as it dissipated over northern Mexico. Thousands of homes were still without power.
There were no immediate reports of deaths or missing people, but the storm’s 120 mph 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.
Nearly 102,000 homes in Sinaloa lost electricity after the storm made landfall, the head of the state electricity company said on Twitter. Service had been restored to about 62 percent of those.
Willa peaked as a Category 5 storm with winds of 155 mph over the Pacific on Monday. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm rapidly lost force and dissipated over northern Mexico Wednesday morning. Rain from Willa continued to fall across 10 Mexican states after the cyclone was downgraded to a tropical storm.
Concern about rains led Durango state to say it was evacuating 200 people threatened by possible spills from the Santa Elena dam. In Nayarit, the fire department urged residents in villages near the Acaponeta river to “evacuate immediately” as the river rose to dangerous levels.
Willa came ashore about 50 miles southeast of Mazatlan, a resort city that is home to high-rise hotels and about 500,000 people, including many U.S. and Canadian expatriates.
Torrential rains began in the afternoon, and emergency officials said they had evacuated more than 4,250 people in coastal towns and set up 58 shelters ahead of the storm. Schools were ordered closed.