Travel Alert: Mexico Hurricane Willa

23 Oct 2018

Event:Hurricane Willa 
Center of Circulation:Pacific Ocean, approximately 190 km (120 miles) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco State, Mexico 
Maximum Sustained Winds:140 kts (260 kph, 160 mph) 
Landfall (Date):Possible landfall near coastal Escuinapa municipality, Sinaloa State, Mexico (late Oct. 23) 
Affected Areas:Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, northwestern Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa, and northern Zacatecas states; possibly Nuevo Leon State (

Hurricane Willa continues to undergo rapid intensification in the Pacific Ocean, Oct. 22. As of 1200 MDT, the system's center of circulation was approximately 190 km (120 miles) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco State, Mexico. Willa is currently a Category 5 hurricane, and only slight weakening is forecast prior to a potential landfall along Mexico's southwestern coastline. Current forecast models indicate that the center of Hurricane Willa could come ashore near Escuinapa, Sinaloa State, as a strong Category 4 storm the afternoon of Oct. 23. Fluctuations in the intensity and landfall location forecasts remain possible over the coming hours. 

Long-range projections suggest that Willa will rapidly weaken after it comes ashore, losing much of its intensity as it interacts with the mountainous terrain of west-central Mexico. Meteorologists maintain that the system will likely transition into a tropical depression over eastern Durango State before dissipating in southern Coahuila State by Oct. 24. The remnants are predicted to spread into northern Mexico and the southern US plains and central Gulf Coast region Oct. 25-26. 

Weather Warnings 
As of Oct 22, authorities are maintaining the following coastal watches and warnings in response to Hurricane Willa: 

Hurricane Warning:From San Blas, Nayarit State, to Mazatlan, Sinaloa State (including Las Islas Marias) 
Tropical Storm Warning:From Playa Perula, Jalisco State, to San Blas, Nayarit State; north of Mazatlan, Sinaloa State, to Bahia Tempehuaya, Sinaloa State 

Authorities will likely issue new advisories or update existing warnings as Willa draws closer to the western Mexican coastline. 

Hazardous Weather 
Life-threatening weather conditions are expected by the afternoon of Oct. 23 in areas under hurricane warnings. Willa is expected to bring damaging winds accompanied by rainfall accumulations of 15.2-30.4cm (6-12 inches), with isolated maximums of 45.7 cm (18 inches), to parts of western Jalisco, western Nayarit, and southern Sinaloa states as it approaches and crosses the Mexican coast. The system will likely produce 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) of precipitation over parts of Zacatecas, Durango, Chihuahua, and Coahuila states as it moves further inland, with isolated areas in these regions possibly receiving up to 15 cm (6 inches). 

Hurricane-force winds will cause extensive damage even to well-built homes, including possibly ripping away roofing and decking materials and some exterior walls. Much of the damage will probably occur where the center of the storm makes landfall, and in areas to the east of the hurricane's eye. The combination of highly saturated soils and strong winds will lead to fallen trees and power lines, as well as scattered debris; utilities, including power and water, are likely to be unavailable for several days to weeks in some areas. 

Sustained heavy rainfall over the coming days could trigger flooding in low-lying communities near watercourses and other bodies of water. Desert areas may also be subject to inundation where hard, dry soils are unable to absorb rainfall. Rain-induced debris flows remain a credible concern in elevated terrains where soil has become overly saturated. Dangerous storm surge accompanied by large, destructive waves could begin affecting Mexico's southwestern coast over the next 24-48 hours. 

Anticipate significant ground, air, and maritime transport disruptions throughout western Mexico as Hurricane Willa approaches and makes landfall. Floodwaters and debris flows may render some bridges or roadways impassable, impacting ground travel in and around affected areas. Strong winds could down trees or spread debris, damaging infrastructure (including power lines) or impeding access to main thoroughfares. 

Dangerous winds will pose a hazard to high-profile vehicles, potentially resulting in commercial trucking delays along sections of Mexico

Further assistance

Campus Travel can be contacted 24/7, 365 days a year.

Number: +61 7 3393 8855 (calls from overseas)

Number: 1300 662 703 (calls from within Australia)


Travel emergency 24/7 contact

Chubb Assistance phone +61 2 8907 5995 and quote UQ policy number 01PP529201. Reverse phone charge is available.