Hurricane Willa takes aim at Mexico, could bring rain to GA later this week

A dangerous Category 4 storm is closing in on the Mexican coast and that system could bring rain to parts of Georgia later this week.

Hurricane Willa is expected to make landfall Tuesday afternoon along Mexico's pacific coast. 

Severe Weather Team 2 is tracking when we could see potential remnants of the storm, on Channel 2 Action News.

Willa briefly reached Category 5 strength, then weakened a bit to Category 4. But the U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that it still was likely to bring "life-threatening storm surge, wind and rainfall" to parts of west-central and southwestern Mexico.

Authorities rushed to evacuate low-lying areas and set up shelters as the "extremely dangerous" storm bears down on the area.

Workers taped up windows in hotels and officials ordered schools closed in a low-lying region where towns sit amid farmland tucked between the sea and lagoons. A decree of "extraordinary emergency" was issued for 19 municipalities in Nayarit and Sinaloa states, the federal Interior Department announced.

Officials said 7,000 to 8,000 people were being evacuated from low-lying areas, mostly in Sinaloa state.

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The hurricane was expected to first pass over or near the Islas Marias, a group of islands about 60 miles (96 kilometers) offshore that include a nature preserve and a federal prison. Forecasters said Willa would then blow ashore in late afternoon somewhere along a 140-mile (220-kilometer) stretch from the resort city of Mazatlan to San Blas.

Enrique Moreno, mayor of Escuinapa, a municipality of about 60,000 people lying on Willa's potential track, said officials were trying to evacuate everybody in the seaside village of Teacapan. He estimated 3,000 were affected but he expected some would try to stay.

"The people don't want to evacuate, but it's for their security," he said.

About 60 miles (100 kilometers) up the coast in Mazatlan, with a metropolitan-area population of about 500,000, Mayor Jose Joel Boucieguez said officials prepared shelters and were closely monitoring low-lying areas. Mazatlan is a popular vacation spot and home to a large number of American and Canadian expatriates.

The U.S. hurricane center warned that Willa could bring 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain - with up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) in some places - to parts of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, with flash flooding and landslides possible in mountainous areas.

Farther to the south, a weakening Tropical Storm Vicente was expected to dissipate soon, but it still caused heavy rainfall that caused dangerous flooding in southern and southwestern Mexico.

Officials in Oaxaca state said seven adults and five children had lost their lives in drownings or mudslides.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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