A weakened Willa has been downgraded to a tropical storm after landfall as a Category 3 hurricane in Western Mexico, with “life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall” still active throughout region, the National Hurricane Center says.
The storm came ashore near Isla del Bosque, Sinaloa, at 9 p.m. ET with maximum winds of 120 mph. Those winds have weakened to just 45 mph, as of the NHC’s 2 a.m. ET update. The storm is currently about 10 miles southeast of the Mexico’s midwestern state of Durango, moving north at 20 mph.
Continued rapid weakening is forecast into midday Wednesday. The NHC anticipates the storm will dissipate by Wednesday afternoon.
An “extremely dangerous” storm surge is occurring along parts of the southwestern Mexican coast in the states of Sinaloa and Nayarit. Directly along the coast, the surge is accompanied by “large, destructive” waves.
The Associated Press reports power blackouts in some areas, and damage to flimsy structures with tin roofs. “Damage assessments were limited by darkness and disrupted communications, and no extensive information was expected until morning,” the news agency reports.
Mexico’s government has discontinued a hurricane warning for Las Islas Marias, an archipelago that is home to about 1,000 residents and thousands more federal prisoners.
Hurricane warnings remain in effect for 180 miles of Mexican Pacific coast between San Blas and Mazatlán. The government of Mexico has discontinued all coastal tropical cyclone warnings.
The storm is forecast to become a rainmaker for northern Mexico and Texas on Wednesday.