Hurricane Willa has become a ‘potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane‘ and is expected to make landfall early on Tuesday. Up to 18 inches of rain are possible, which could cause flashflooding and deadly landslides. If you are in the region or are due to head their soon, you will find travel advice and other useful information below. 


Tropical Storm Vicente remains a significant weather front is set to hit around the same time, but has been downgraded from earlier forecasts. It is expected to cause eavy rain and flooding across much of southern and southwestern Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center issued an advisory at 1200AM MDT on Monday –

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...
* San Blas to Mazatlan, including Las Islas Marias

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Playa Perula to San Blas
* North of Mazatlan to Bahia Tempehuaya

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected
somewhere within the warning area within the next 36 hours.
Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to
completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the
next 12 to 24 hours.

Interests elsewhere along the coasts of west-central and
southwestern mainland Mexico should monitor the progress of Willa.

The advisory lists the hazards as follows

STORM SURGE:  An extremely dangerous storm surge is likely along
portions of the coast of southwestern Mexico by Tuesday or Tuesday
night, especially near and to the south of where the center of Willa
makes landfall.  Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by
large and destructive waves.

RAINFALL:  Willa is expected to produce storm total rainfall
accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, with local amounts to 18 inches,
across portions of western Jalisco, western Nayarit, and southern
Sinaloa in Mexico.  This rainfall will cause life-threatening flash
flooding and landslides.

Farther inland, Willa is expected to produce rainfall amount of 2 to
4 inches across portions of Zacateca, Durango, southeast Chihuahua,
and Coahuila in Mexico, with local amounts to 6 inches possible.
This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash flooding.

WIND:  Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane
warning area beginning Tuesday afternoon, with tropical storm
conditions expected by Tuesday morning.  Tropical storm conditions
are expected within the tropical storm warning areas by tonight
and Tuesday.

SURF:  Large swells generated by Willa will continue to affect
portions of the coast of southwestern and west-central Mexico
during the next few days.  Swells should begin to affect portions
of the coast of the southern Baja California peninsula later today.
These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip
current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather
office.

Travel advice

If you are in the region – 

  • Monitor the local weather forecast. Use a couple of different apps and/or websites to get information from multiple sources.  
  • The US State Department recommends following  and  on Twitter. Enable push notifications, so that you will know as soon as new information is shared. 
  • Look up and save contact details for your local embassy or consular services, and emergency services (different branches may have different numbers). For all contact information, make sure you make a note of it in an offline location too – you may need to make a call from a payphone or landline after your phone battery has died.
  • Make sure you have your travel insurance information to hand and know when to call. If you have booked your trip through a travel agent or a tour company, keep that information stored safely too. 
  • Monitor local media.
  • Keep mobile devices charged. 
  • Put aside a storm kit to help you wait out the worst of the weather. Include food that will not spoil and bottled drinking water, candles and matches, a first aid kit, medication, torch, phone charge, batteries, cash.
  • Know what form evacuation notices will take – siren, police announcement, text message, etc – and be prepared to comply with them. Put together a grab bag that contains ID, travel documents, insurance information, medication, snacks and a bottle of water. 
  • Comply with advice from the local authorities. 
  • Be prepared for delays and disruption.
  • Check in with friends and family.
  • If something bad happens, check in with your local embassy as soon as it is safe to do so. 

If you are heading to the region soon – 

  • Check in with your airline and travel agent to find out if your trip will be impacted. 
  • Monitor media reports.
  • Talk to your travel insurance provider to check what is/is not covered, and plan accordingly. 

Official travel advice

News coverage

 

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