MAZATLAN, Mexico-The center of Hurricane Willa moved over Mexico's Pacific coastline on the evening of October 23 with winds of more than 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour), buffeting buildings and dumping rain on tourist resorts where thousands of people had moved to safety. The storm will quickly weaken over the next 24 hours as it makes its way across the Sierra Madre range and becomes a rainmaker for northern Mexico and Texas on Wednesday.
Willa began losing power overnight after roaring over a stretch of beach towns, fishing villages and farms on the Pacific coast of Mexico's Sinaloa state as a Category 3 storm.Damage assessments were scanty during the night because of darkness and poor communications, but federal officials said power had been knocked out in some spots and there were early reports of flimsy structures with tin roofs sustaining damage.
Those in low-lying areas near the coast where Willa is forecast to push inland should seek higher ground due to the threat of life-threatening storm surge flooding.
Category 3 Willa hit Mexico's coast near the town of Isla del Bosque in the state of Sinaloa, where thousands of people had been evacuated from low-lying areas..
Willa came ashore about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Mazatlan, a resort city that is home to high-rise hotels and about 500,000 people, including many US and Canadian expatriates.
Willa was a maximum Category 5 hurricane on Monday, but lost strength as it moved toward landfall - expected on Tuesday afternoon or evening, the US National Hurricane Center said in its 1500 GMT update.
Forecasters are concerned about storm surge and rainfall. So far, there are hurricane warnings from San Blas, east of the Panama Canal, to Mazatlan along the western Mexican coastline. There could be life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. "This would bring significant amounts of rain and wind Saturday and Sunday in cities like Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston".More news: Stefanos Tsitsipas wins Stockholm Open for first ATP Tour title
Adding to the weather chaos, the remnants of Tropical Storm Vicente were moving over Michoacan on Tuesday, bringing more heavy rainfall.
The states of Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco declared a state of alert and cancelled school state-wide.
Southwest Airlines canceled all flights at Puerto Vallarta's worldwide airport.
Nevertheless, the NHC warned, "Willa is expected to be a unsafe hurricane when it reaches the coast of Mexico". American Airlines has canceled its flights in Mazatlán, about 275 miles to the north.
Mexico's Pacific coast has already been hit by deadly storms and rains this hurricane season.
There have been 10 major hurricanes this year, including Willa, tying 1992 as the most major hurricanes in the northeast Pacific in one year.