Hurricane Willa’s wind eased a bit this morning as it approached the southwest coast of Mexico, USA Today reports; it is still a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph. Previously, Hurricane Willa had maximum sustained winds of about 155 mph and the potential to reach Category 5 status.
USA Today adds the storm is expected to make landfall Tuesday afternoon or evening, although Riviera Maya News says the storm is expected to be a Category 3 by this time, according to the National Meteorological Service.
According to the National Hurricane Center, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for San Blas to Mazatlan, including Las Islas Marias, while a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Playa Perula to San Blas, as well as north of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya. It also posted the following three updates:
- A life-threatening storm surge is expected today along the coasts of Isla Marias, and along the coast of southern Sinaloa and Nayarit states in west-central and southwestern Mexico near the path of Willa. Residents should rush preparations to completion to protect life and property and follow any advice given by local officials.
- Everyone in the Isla Marias, and within the hurricane warning area along the coast of west-central Mexico should prepare for life-threatening major hurricane winds associated with the core of Willa. Hurricane force winds will also extend inland across the mountainous areas of west-central Mexico as Willa moves inland.
- Heavy rainfall from Willa is likely to produce life-threatening flash flooding and landslides over much of southwestern and west-central.
USA Today says Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto ordered the National Emergency Committee and taken the "necessary preventive measures to safeguard the population" in the path of the storm.
Willa is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of six to 12 inches, with some areas seeing as much as 18 inches, across portions of western Jalisco, western Nayarit, southern Sinaloa and Durango.
Several airlines have issued travel advisories for flights to the region, while other flights have been canceled.
Southwest issued its travel advisory on Monday, covering flyers headed to and from Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. Passengers booked on flights from Monday, October 22, through Friday, October 26, can change their flight without penalty if they want to get ahead of the storm or wait until it passes.
American Airlines waived fees for travelers ticketed to fly through Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Alaska Airlines also waived fees for flyers headed to the same destinations. Alaska's policy covered travelers booked to fly into the airports from Monday through Thursday.