Hurricane Willa makes landfall south of Mazatlan as Category 3 storm. Flights are canceled, cruise ships diverted

Rain began fall over Mazatlan's empty beaches as Hurricane Willa approached Tuesday evening. The hurricane hit land south of the Mexican resort town as a Category 3 storm.
(Marco Ugarte / Associated Press)

Hurricane Willa made landfall on Mexico’s west coast Tuesday evening as a Category 3 hurricane, first slamming Isla Del Bosque, about 68 miles north of Mazatlan. Winds were estimated at 120 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center reported.

Hurricane warnings remained in effect Tuesday evening for resort towns from San Blas to Mazatlan. The storm had already hit a group of islands called Las Islas Marias.

More than 4,000 people had been evacuated ahead of the storm. No reports on damage yet.


Tropical storm warnings also remained Tuesday from Mazatlan and north to Tempehuaya Bay, and San Blas to Playa Perula as the storm moved northeast and inland. Officials had repeatedly warned of dangerous storm surge, rough surf, flash flooding and power outages.

Southwest Airlines had already canceled Tuesday flights between Los Angeles, Houston and Oakland and Puerto Vallarta in anticipation of Willa, media reports said. The airline warned passengers that flights to and from Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos airport (SJD) and Puerto Vallarta (PVR) airport may be disrupted, diverted or canceled through Friday.

Fliers who had planned to travel to or from either destination this week may change their tickets and travel within 14 days without paying change fees. Read Southwest’s travel advisory here.

American Airlines is allowing ticketed passengers traveling to or from Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan to change flights without paying a fee through Friday. Read American’s travel alert here.

Alaska Air will allow ticketed passenger heading to or from Puerto Vallarta to rebook travel through Nov. 1 without paying fees. Here’s Alaska Air’s alert.

Cruise ships also have been affected by Willa. The Norwegian Bliss, which left Los Angeles for a seven-night voyage to the Mexican Riviera, instead will call on San Francisco on Monday, San Diego on Wednesday and Ensenada on Thursday, Cruise Critic reported Sunday.

Holland America on its Twitter feed said the Eurodam’s sailing to Mexico that began Monday will instead “now sail northward along the coast of California with calls in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico.

The cruise line also said that, given the itinerary changes, “all guests will receive a future cruise credit and ship board credit,” if they choose.



8:15 p.m.: This story was updated to report that Hurricane Willa made landfall Tuesday evening. Hurricane warnings remain in effect for key areas of the coast as the storm moves inland.

1:15 p.m.: This article was updated with Hurricane Willa’s Category 3 status and more airlines waiving change fees for passengers ticketed to fly to or from Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta.