Mexicans recover after Willa's 'end of world' onslaught

By David Alire Garcia ESCUINAPA, Mexico (Reuters) - Residents on Mexico's Pacific Coast on Wednesday began clearing up the wreckage left by Hurricane Willa, which ripped through towns overnight, tearing off rooftops, downing power lines and splitting trees apart. Willa, a powerful Category 3 hurricane, hit the northwestern state of Sinaloa late on Tuesday as one of the strongest storms to lash the coast in recent years, with winds of up to 120 miles per hour (195 km per hour). 'I thought it was the end of the world,' said Alma Rosa Ramirez, a 45-year-old resident of the town of Escuinapa, as she described how her whole house rattled in the blasting winds.

Reuters October 25, 2018 02:06:42 IST
Mexicans recover after Willa's 'end of world' onslaught

Mexicans recover after Willas end of world onslaught

By David Alire Garcia

ESCUINAPA, Mexico (Reuters) - Residents on Mexico's Pacific Coast on Wednesday began clearing up the wreckage left by Hurricane Willa, which ripped through towns overnight, tearing off rooftops, downing power lines and splitting trees apart.

Willa, a powerful Category 3 hurricane, hit the northwestern state of Sinaloa late on Tuesday as one of the strongest storms to lash the coast in recent years, with winds of up to 120 miles per hour (195 km per hour).

"I thought it was the end of the world," said Alma Rosa Ramirez, a 45-year-old resident of the town of Escuinapa, as she described how her whole house rattled in the blasting winds.

Now with the sun peeking through and wind nearly at a standstill, Ramirez and scores of other residents took to the streets to pick up debris, while emergency crews poured in to work on reestablishing basic services.

Ramirez arrived at her tiny fruit and vegetable stand in the shadow of a large stone church in Escuinapa's central square, saying she feared the storm had devastated the farming region that supplies her with the carrots, squash and chilis she sells.

"There's going to be a lot of poverty," she said.

No deaths have been reported as thousands of people were evacuated from coastal towns and resorts before the storm hit.

"The population took cover in time," said Luis Felipe Puente, head of the country's Civil Protection agency.

On the other side of Escuinapa, 74-year-old retiree Virginia Medina sat in a white plastic chair, a 4-week-old kitten winding between her legs, as she took in the damage.

Willa showed her little mercy: a metal corrugated roof collapsed, water pooled in the kitchen and gnarled branches littered Medina's front patio and backyard.

"I can't even walk in my backyard ... Here in the neighbourhood a lot of walls came tumbling down. Now there is no power, no gas, there's nothing," Medina said.

POWER CUTS

Along a stretch of a two-lane highway southwest of Escuinapa, workers from Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission tended to countless downed power lines.

Noe Mauricio, a worker wearing a yellow helmet and orange vest, stood in the road directing traffic under steady rain. He said it could take two weeks to re-establish power in the area.

"We're doing it as fast as possible but with the wind all of them fell," Mauricio added, referring to the 30-km-long (18.5-mile-long) string of fallen electricity poles.

A map of the area showed Los Canales lagoon to one side of the highway. Flood waters had filled in the other side too, leaving the tops of some trees and a fence sticking out.

Willa struck the coast about 50 miles (80 km) south of Mazatlan, a major city and tourist resort in Sinaloa.

The hurricane had reached rare Category 5 status on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, on Monday, with winds nearing 160 miles per hour (260 kph), as it headed towards the coast.

The storm had dissipated by mid-morning as it moved quickly inland over northwest-central Mexico on Wednesday. It was still expected to dump heavy rains across the region.

By then, the storm was about 75 miles (120 km) west of the city of Monterrey, blowing maximum sustained winds of 25 mph(40 km), the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Downpours in Mexico prior to Willa's arrival had heightened the risk of flooding, and the NHC said the storm could drench some areas in as much as 18 inches (45 cm) of rain.

(Additional reporting by Dave Graham and Brendan O'Brien; writing by Anthony Esposito and Daina Beth Solomon; editing by G Crosse and Sandra Maler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.