Canadians brace for Hurricane Willa’s ‘vengeance’

Hurricane Willa is expected to make landfall Tuesday eveing along the coast of Mexico south of resort towns like Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan where people — including many Canadians — who live or holiday there are bracing for the storm in their homes or hotels.

The storm has weakened to a Category 3 but still threatens to hit west and southwestern Mexico with a “life-threatening storm surge,” according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Surging waves already obliterate the usually calm beaches in the resort town of Mazatlan.

Winds at the heart of the storm are expected to top 193-kilometres-per-hour.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center warns that Willa is likely to bring life-threatening wind and rainfall. 0:34

Denise King headed to Mexico from Chase B.C., in late September.

On Tuesday, she described the gloomy skies and says she has built herself a little nest in a washroom to weather the storm.

She said she has bought ice and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables to prepare.

But she’s nervous, as she’s already experienced one tropical storm.

Denise King with her husband Mike on a sunnier day in Chase B.C., before she headed to Mexico, where she is now hunkered down awaiting the wrath of Hurricane Willa. (Facebook)

“That even freaked me out. The thunder is like trains smashing. I never heard anything like that in my life,” she said, as the surf roared in the background.

Former Vancouverite Alastair Porteous spent days sandbagging his Mazatlan restaurant, the Water’s Edge Bistro, which often floods during regular storms.

Alastair Porteous is worried about his house in Mazatlan with Hurricane Willa scheduled to hit Tuesday. In this early photo, he shows off a rock that came loose near his backyard, and he wonders how the hillside and trees will be affected by the high winds and rain. (Alastair Porteous/Facebook)

He said that he’s also hoping his older home — which is on a hill under tall trees — survives and does not get hit with any debris.

After a decade of life in Mazatlan, he’s used to dramatic storms but said that this one seems different.

“I was in tropical storm Rick and I was amazed at the power of a tropical storm. It’s amazing after going through something like that how really small the human race is when Mother Nature decides to exact revenge on us. And this is going probably be exponentially more powerful and more dangerous,” said Porteous.

As he and others hunker down, Mike Valdez, 51, is doing the opposite.

The New Yorker says he’s heading out to help his Mexican relatives who live closer to the zones where 7,000 to 8,000 people have been evacuated in the lower areas of Sinaloa state.

He loaded up his truck with supplies — from water to tuna fish and baby wipes — and headed south down the coast.

Waves starting to get wild as Category 3 hurricane heads towards Puerta Vallarta on Oct. 23, 2018. (Willis Johnston)

He plans to drive an hour or more to get to Rosario and Esquinapa where his aunts and uncles and other relatives lives.

This, as the city shuts down public transportation, cancels road tolls and shuts all services.

When asked if that’s wise, he bristles.

“It’s what you gotta do when things are bad,” said Valdez.

The Rio Cuale river in Puerta Vallarta’s old town as Hurricane Willa gets closer to the coast of Mexico on Tuesday. (Willis Johnston)

View of piled up sand bags, to protect a restaurant from Hurricane Willa, before its arrival in Mazatlan, Sinaloa state, Mexico on Oct. 23, 2018. Mexico braced Tuesday for the impact of Hurricane Willa as the Category 3 storm barrelled toward its Pacific Coast with what forecasters warned would be potentially deadly force. (Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images)

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