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Mexico: How safe is it safe to travel as ‘dangerous’ Hurricane Willa hits today?

Mexico is set to be blasted by “dangerous” Hurricane Willa today. This is the latest travel advice.

The powerful storm has brought maximum sustained winds of 140mph this morning and could also hit Mexico with life-threatening storm surge and torrential rain, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Hurricane Willa is now a Category-5 strength storm. It’s expected to be “a dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the coast of Mexico,” said the NHC.

Rainfall of up to 12 inches is anticipated and could lead to life-threatening landslides and flash flooding as well as “large and destructive waves” along parts of Mexico’s central and southwestern coast.

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The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now updated their travel advice to Mexico.

“Hurricane Willa is expected to make landfall on the Pacific Coast of Mexico (Western Mexico), between San Blas and Mazatlan, late on Tuesday 23 October,” said the FCO website.

“A tropical storm watch is also in place between Playa Perula and San Blas. The hurricane season normally runs from June to November and affects both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.”

The FCO warns travellers should be careful even if they’re not the near the centre of the storm.

“Be aware that effects of tropical storms and hurricanes can span hundreds of miles from the centre of the storm, causing flooding, landslides and disruption to local services, including transport,” they cautioned.

“You should monitor the progress of approaching storms on the website of the US National Hurricane Centre and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.”

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Mexico: Is it safe to travel as ‘dangerous’ Hurricane Willa hits today? (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

Flights and airports have also been affected by Hurricane Willa as preparations begin.

Southwest Airlines has cancelled all of its flights at the International Airport in Puerto Vallarta, a resort town in Mexico’s Pacific coast in the state of Jalisco.

Passengers booked on flights from today through Friday 26 October, can change their flight without penalty. Passengers whose flights are cancelled are eligible for a refund or can rebook.

American Airlines has cancelled its flights in the city of Mazatlan – the second-largest city in the state of Sinaloa in northwestern Mexico.

The carrier also issued a travel waiver to the region for travellers ticketed to fly through Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta today and tomorrow.

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Mexico is set to be battered by “dangerous” Hurricane Willa this afternoon or evening (Image: NOAA)

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Mexico: A shop is boarded up in Mexico ahead of impact from Hurricane Willa (Image: Getty Images)

Mazatlan is a popular tourist town is lined with hotels and celebrated for its 12-mile golden beaches, golf resorts and lively nightlife.

Other local tourist destinations expected to be in Willa’s path include Ezquinapa, where 60,000 people live.

It’s highly likely other airlines with flights to the region will also follow with travel waivers.

Hurricane Willa is the tenth of the 2018 northeast Pacific hurricane season. 

The 2018 Eastern Pacific hurricane season is the most active on record, according to an index called ACE – Accumulated Cyclone Energy – used to track hurricane activity.

Antonio Echevarria, governor of Nayarit, has said more than 10,000 people were being evacuated and schools would be closed.

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