Hurricane Willa strikes Mexico´s Pacific coast

How a Pacific hurricane will impact Houston this week

"I come from a country where we have hurricanes and vicious storms, so I'm kind of waiting with bated breath", he said over the phone while sitting on his porch and smoking a cigarette.

Willa had reached rare Category 5 status on Monday with winds near 160 miles per hour (260 kph) before it weakened.

Whipping palm trees, bending power lines and sparking floods, the center of Willa struck the coast near the town of Isla del Bosque in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, where many coastal areas had been evacuated before the storm hit.

Forecasters said Willa would then blow ashore in late afternoon somewhere along a 220-km (140-mile) stretch from the resort city of Mazatlan to San Blas.

Farther to the south, Tropical Storm Vicente had weakened to a tropical depression early Tuesday, but it was still bringing heavy rainfall that caused unsafe flooding in southern and southwestern Mexico.

"At this time, it looks like this storm will bring a general 1-2 inches of rain and a period of 40- to 50-mph wind gusts to the coast, and there will be some sort of wet snow over the interior", AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek said.

While the storm is expected to dissipate significantly, it could still bring heavy rain to Texas later in the week as it continues its journey northwards.

Although hotels, restaurants and stores were boarded over, people ventured onto Mazatlan's coastal boulevard to watch a spectacular sunset as the hurricane obscured the sky to the south.

Alberto Hernandez, a hotel worker in Teacapan, close to where the storm was making landfall, expressed confidence that the building would hold up.

Halloween weekend will bring more than just ghosts and goblins - a nor'easter is creeping across the USA and is expected to drench the Northeast with wet snow, rain and other scary conditions. Federal authorities declined to comment on precautions that were taken at the prison, citing security concerns, but said the safety of prisoners was a priority. "Everything is closed", Hernandez said.

Hurricane-force winds extended 55km from Willa's centre, and tropical storm-force winds were felt up to 185km out. "But not everyone wanted to leave, even though authorities made it clear that he who stays does so at his own peril".

As Willa closed in, the beach in Mazatlan nearly disappeared, with waves slamming against the coastal boulevard under looming black clouds.

Schools in the affected areas have been closed since Monday. A few surfers enjoyed the big waves while the streets onshore were almost deserted except for workers boarding up windows at hotels, shops and homes.

The US hurricane centre warned that Willa could bring 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) of rain - with up to 45 cm (18 inches) in some places - to parts of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, with flash flooding and landslides possible in mountainous areas.

Some families took shelter at the Mazatlan convention center, spreading out blankets along the walls to wait out the storm.

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