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Hurricane Willa Lashes Mexico's Pacific Coast



MEXICO CITY-Hurricane Willa hit the Mexican Pacific coast late Tuesday with wind speeds of 120 mph and heavy rains, leading to the threat of flooding.

The Eye of the Storm hit land around 9pm. EDT, near Isla del Bosque in the state of Sinaloa, said the US National Hurricane Center. Willa reached the coast as Category 3, the first major hurricane in a busy Pacific season to land in Mexico.

The storm is expected to weaken sharply over mountainous terrain and wane Wednesday over northern Mexico, added the Hurricane Center. 19659004] In preparation for the arrival of the storm, since Monday schools have been closed, shelters built and emergency teams prepared. [142,400,404] Luis Felipe Puente, national civil defense director, said Tuesday afternoon that more than 4,250 people in vulnerable areas had been evacuated to shelters or homes of friends and relatives. He recommended that businesses and tourist activities close by the early afternoon, warning people not to seek revenge to buy last minute supplies or gas.

"The best thing people can do is stay tonight," he said of Nayarit and Sinaloa would bear the brunt of the storm, officials said, but other states, including Jalisco, would feel an impact. The authorities estimate that there were about 40,000 foreign and national tourists in these states, which is home to the resorts of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán.

The storm that reached Category 5 on Monday happened on Tuesday over the Islas Marías, an archipelago of four islands containing a conservation area and a federal prison.

Mr. Puente said the islands suffered minor damage to the infrastructure, but no loss of life.

Authorities in Nayarit, Sinaloa and Jalisco have closed closed-door schools and started to set up shelters in some communities since Monday. The Ministry of the Interior declared 1

2 states in Nayarit and seven in Sinaloa a state of emergency and granted them access to emergency funds.

In the states of Colima were thousands of army and naval soldiers and federal police on the ground. Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa. The government closed ports in the region and canceled a number of flights to Mazatlán and the state-owned Nayarit capital Tepic.

The state energy utility CFE said more than 2,000 workers were prepared to respond to power outages in Nayarit, Sinaloa and other states could be affected by the storm. Hundreds of cranes, trucks and emergency power plants were brought to the region by the utility.

Another weather event that threatened Mexico, the tropical storm Vicente, disappeared overnight and its remains moved inland across the state of Michoacan on Tuesday. Sir. Puente said 11 people have been killed in recent days in the southern state of Oaxaca, where floods by Vicente and other weather events damaged homes and roads. The states of Guerrero and Michoacán were also affected by floods and mudslides, but there are no reports of human losses, he added.

In September, a tropical depression in the Gulf of California in the northern part caused large flooding of Sinaloa

Write to Anthony Harrup at anthony.harrup@wsj.com


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