Dangerous Willa to inundate Mexico with flooding into midweek
Willa made landfall along the Mexico coastline Tuesday night, and it remains a dangerous weather system.
Willa intensified into a Category 5 hurricane on Monday morning with maximum-sustained winds of 160 mph. The storm's winds then weakened from Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning. Early Wednesday morning, it became a tropical storm, then became a tropical depression soon after.
Willa made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane near the Isla Del Bosque, Sinaloa around 7:00 p.m. MDT on Tuesday night.
While Willa's winds have diminished, it will continue to produce life-threatening flood conditions.
In advance of the storm, the governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit ordered coastal region schools to close on Monday and began preparing emergency shelters ahead of Willa's arrival, according to the Associated Press.
Officials said 7,000 to 8,000 people were being evacuated from low-lying areas of Sinaloa.
Rounds of heavy rain will bring the risk for localized flash flooding and travel disruptions. On Tuesday evening, there were 24 landslides on federal highways in Jalisco, Mexico due to rains caused by Willa.
"Once inland, the hurricane's wind field will interact with the higher terrain, and this will cause Willa to weaken considerably during Wednesday," said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
While the risk for damaging winds decreases away from the coastline, flash flooding and mudslides will remain a major concern.
Willa will bring torrential rainfall from where it makes landfall into west-central and central Mexico. Rainfall totals of 4-8 inches with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 12 inches are expected in these areas.
Residents of this region are urged to review hurricane preparation tips and to make sure they have non-perishable food, water, medicines and supplies needed to protect property from damage.
Anyone living in areas prone to flooding rain, mudslides or storm surge flooding in southwestern or western Mexico should review evacuation routes and be ready to leave if ordered to do so by local officials.
Willa has the potential to leave a portion of these areas without power for days after landfall.
Willa may spread heavy rain and the risk for flooding across central Mexico and into the southern United States later in the week and into next weekend.
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