Thousands of people yesterday were evacuated, buildings boarded up and classes canceled on Mexico’s Pacific coast as Hurricane Willa threatened to batter tourist resorts with high winds and heavy rains.
Residents on Monday night sealed off windows and doors with large wooden planks on hotels facing the historic downtown boardwalk of Mazatlan, a popular coastal city in the state of Sinaloa, as tourists strolled nearby and palm trees swayed in a light breeze.
Forecast to be one of the most powerful hurricanes to enter Mexico from the Pacific in the past few years, Willa was expected to strike a few miles south of Mazatlan as soon as yesterday afternoon.
At a gas station on the city’s outskirts, a steady line of cars lined up to refuel and shop at the neighboring convenience store.
Station attendant Zulema Pardo said that residents had been streaming through for hours to stock up on basic items, buying enormous jugs of water and gasoline, and leaving the bread shelf completely empty.
“People are really scared,” she said. “People are crazy and worked up.”
Late on Monday, the storm was advancing about 130km west of Las Islas Marias Islands opposite Nayarit, the state south of Sinaloa, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
Several other tourist getaways in Nayarit, as well as the beach resort of Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco, also lie near the path of the storm, which is forecast to bring a “life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall,” the hurricane center said.
Willa, classified a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, was blowing maximum, sustained winds of about 225kph on Monday night, the center said.
Headed northward, Willa is forecast to weaken after hitting the coast, it said.
More than 10,000 people were being evacuated and schools would be closed, Nayarit State Governor Antonio Echevarria said, adding that locals should not defy the storm.
“Let’s not play the macho. Let’s not act like superheroes,” he said. “It’s a very strong hurricane, very potent, and we don’t want any tragedies.”
Sinaloa also canceled classes in much of the state.
Up to 45cm of rainfall could pummel the storm zone, the center said.
Even buildings up to 500m from the coastline could lose power and suffer physical damage, the Mexican National Meteorological Service said.
Despite the looming threat, some tourists appeared unfazed.
“It doesn’t ruin the pleasure of being here,” said vacationer Angel Avelar, popping open a beer while dangling his feet off the boardwalk. “Maybe things will be different tomorrow.”
A CAUTIONARY TALE: Bookseller Lam Wing-kee speaks of the danger that his adopted home Taiwan now faces and the ordeal of his detention in China Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) leaned forward in his chair, answering quickly and sharply to issue a warning to the people of his new home, Taiwan. “Be ready now,” Lam said. “We should be more alert as citizens, we should get ready,” the 64-year-old Hong Konger said. “If they can take Hong Kong back, the next place, I feel, is Taiwan.” Late in Taipei at Causeway Bay Books Mark II, on the 10th floor of a nondescript building, Lam, a wiry, gray-haired bookseller, was sitting at his desk with a bemused gaze behind thin oval glasses. The desk was neat, but crowded with books and a
‘POLICE EVERYWHERE’: A law that would criminalize the publication of images of police officers was passed by the National Assembly and awaits Senate approval Violent clashes erupted in Paris on Saturday as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against new security legislation, with tensions intensified by the police beating and racial abuse of a black man that shocked France. Several fires were started in Paris, sending acrid smoke into the air, as protesters vented their anger against the security law, which would restrict the publication of police officers’ faces. About 46,000 people marched in Paris and 133,000 in total nationwide, the French Ministry of the Interior said. Protest organizers said about 500,000 joined nationwide, including 200,000 in the capital. French President Emmanuel Macron late
Not enough beds and not enough doctors: a skyrocketing COVID-19 caseload is pushing hospitals in the Balkans to the cusp of collapse, in chaotic scenes reminding some medics of the region’s 1990s wars. After nearly a year of keeping outbreaks more or less under control, the nightmare scenario that the Balkans feared from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is now starting to unfold. In hard-hit Bosnia-Herzegovina, one doctor described the distress of having to juggle the care of multiple patients whose lives were hanging by a thread. “The situation reminds me of the war, and I’m afraid it could get even worse
The genteel world of New Zealand pottery has been rocked by a row over plans for a ceramic dildo-making workshop, sparking allegations of bullying and online abuse. Ceramicist Nicole Gaston said that she wanted the Wellington Potters’ Association to hold the event with Iza Lozano, a visiting Mexican artist who has conducted similar workshops in her homeland. Gaston said that pottery dildos are easily sterilized, can be warmed and, unlike latex versions, do not pose the risk of leeching chemicals into the body. “Some of the oldest ceramic works ever found are of phalluses,” she said. “This isn’t exactly brand new. People have