Hurricane Willa batters Mexico’s Pacific Coast

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Hurricane Willa is expected to hit Mexico’s Pacific Coast Tuesday evening. A mountain range close to the beaches known as the ‘Mexican Riviera’ greatly heightens the risk of flash floods and landslides. Local residents have been evacuated.

CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock spoke with local residents as they prepared for the storm.

Watch the original report on CGTN America

Hurricane Willa, described as “extremely dangerous” by the U.S. National Hurricane Center, is scheduled to make landfall Tuesday night.

Ahead of the storm, residents prepared for the worst by protecting what they could before fleeing inland to higher ground.

Watch Alasdair’s Facebook Live on CGTN America’s page

But, not everyone is fleeing. For some, the hurricane is a lesser concern.

“I’m not going to evacuate because many people around this area, when they see that things are left alone, they come and steal them,” local restaurant owner Ruben Mariscal said. “If I see that things become really bad, I have my motorbike here to escape.”

Meteorologists warn the hurricane – a Category Three – could be the worst to hit Mexico’s west coast in years.

Hurricane Willa’s ferocity surged from a tropical storm on Saturday morning, but then swelled to the maximum Category Five on Monday before weakening to Category Three on Tuesday morning. As it makes landfall here it will bring 200-kilometer winds and more than 45 centimeters of rain in some places – posing a serious landslide threat.

The storm’s eye, its center, is expected to pass over the coastal town of Teacapan in the state of Sinaloa, wreaking destruction as it goes. Further south, Tropical Storm Vicente has already left at least 12 people dead in the state of Oaxaca, as landslides struck the coast.

The Pacific Coast communities are prepared, but many residents expect to return to a very different scene.

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Alasdair Baverstock MA is an award-winning multimedia foreign correspondent based in Mexico City, with more than five years of experience covering Latin America. Originally from London, and with full NCTJ certification, he specialises in news and feature journalism for print, radio and television. His work has previously been used as set-texts in British A-Level examinations. He currently works as CGTN America's Mexico correspondent, and has formerly published work in TIME Magazine, Daily Mail, The Atlantic, Penthouse, Fox News, BBC, Daily Telegraph, TRT World, and others.

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