Jalisco’s coastline came through relatively unscathed following this week’s passage of Hurricane Willa, which forecasters warned had the potential to cause “life threatening” major flooding and landslides.
A category five hurricane on Monday, Willa had been described as one of the strongest storms recorded anywhere on the globe this year by U.S. National Hurricane Center.
As a precaution, Jalisco authorities evacuated more than 1,500 people living in unsafe housing in rural communities located near the coast. Civil Protection personnel carried out similar evacuations in both Nayarit and Sinaloa to the the north.
Willa had weakened to a category four on Tuesday as it swept by the Jalisco coast but still brought with it winds of around 125 miles per hour. Besides storm surges, heavy rains drenched Jalisco’s coastal communities, provoking around 80 minor landslides, the majority of them on the stretch of highway between Melaque and Puerto Vallarta, according to Jalisco Civil Protection. Thankfully, no causalities were reported, and damage to property was limited. Many trees were uprooted and power lines downed, however.
The predictions of heavy rain and winds in Guadalajara failed to materialize, although the waters of Lake Chapala were said to be choppier than normal.
The hurricane lessened to category three before it slammed into the Sinaloa coast south of the tourist resort of Mazatlan on Wednesday. It nonetheless caused significant flooding in several communities in the state, as well as in neighboring Nayarit. Also, no casualties were reported in either state.
The cleanup began Thursday, with the Red Cross and other agencies immediately dispatching assistance to all those displaced by the hurricane. Several private groups, including UNIVA university and merchants at Guadalajara’s Abastos (wholesale) market responded quickly by sending vehicles packed with emergency supplies.