Travel Alert October 2018: Hurricane Willa to Impact Western Mexico

If western Mexico is in your travel plans over the next few days, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather — due to Hurricane Willa, of which landfall of what is forecast to be a powerful Category 3 hurricane could occur on the coast of western Mexico near Tuxpan as early as late Tuesday evening, October 23, 2018.

Travel Alert October 2018: Hurricane Willa to Impact Western Mexico

Hurricane Willa

Hurricane Willa heads north in the Pacific Ocean towards western Mexico, which is outlined in purple. Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

Maximum sustained winds of this storm — which is currently centered approximately 105 miles south southwest of Las Islas Marias and is moving north at approximately eight miles per hour — are 150 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 185 miles per hour. Hurricane Willa weakened from Category 5 status to its current classification of Category 4; and it is expected to continue to weaken modestly — but it will still be a dangerous storm upon landfall.

Hurricane Willa

Source: National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

Hurricane warnings are already in effect from San Blas to Mazatlán, which includes Las Islas Marias; while a tropical storm warning is currently in effect from north of Mazatlán to Bahia Tempehuaya north of the predicted track of the hurricane; and from Playa Perula to San Blas to the south.

Effects of this storm are expected to be in the form of torrential precipitation, gusty winds, strong rip currents, mudslides, beach erosion, and dangerous surf.

As much as 18 inches of rain could fall in local areas within the path of this storm — including western Jalisco, western Nayarit and southern Sinaloa.

The United States is expected to be affected by remnants of Hurricane Willa in southern Texas and possibly along the Gulf Coast, with rain as far north as Birmingham and Atlanta once it merges with another storm. No official travel alerts are likely to be issued; but travel could still be affected in the form of delays and possibly — though unlikely — cancellations of flights.

Some forecasts call for this combined storm to become a nor’easter by the time it reaches the northeastern United States this coming weekend — and it could bring snow with it in some areas — but confirming that this will happen is too early at this time.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to western Mexico over the next few days, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this tropical weather system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions and traffic problems.

Here are four airlines which have issued travel alerts — or are at least monitoring the storm — as a result of this tropical weather system:

  • American Airlines has issued travel alerts for Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta for Tuesday, October 23, 2018 through Wednesday, October 24, 2018; and Friday, October 26, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued a travel alert for Puerto Vallarta for Tuesday, October 23, 2018 through Thursday, October 25, 2018; and Thursday, November 1, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Alaska Airlines has issued travel alerts for Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta for Monday, October 22, 2018 through Thursday, October 25, 2018; and Thursday, November 1, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Southwest Airlines has issued travel alerts for Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta for Monday, October 22, 2018 through Friday, October 26, 2018; and Friday, November 9, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

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