Willa weakens to tropical storm however torrential rain…

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Hurricane Willa has weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall in Mexico but torrential rain will continue in western-central areas, officials have said.

The US National Hurricane Centre said Willa is expected to continue moving towards the north east over the next 12 hours.

The centre added that the government of Mexico has discontinued all coastal tropical cyclone warnings.

Willa came ashore about 50 miles south east of Mazatlan, a Pacific resort city that is home to high-rise hotels and about 500,000 people, including many US and Canadian expatriates.

The storm’s 120mph winds hit near Isla del Bosque in Sinaloa state. Federal officials said there were early reports of power blackouts in some places and damage to flimsy structures with tin roofs.

Although hotels, restaurants and stores were boarded over, people ventured on to Mazatlan’s coastal boulevard to watch a spectacular sunset as the hurricane obscured the sky to the south.

Emergency officials said they evacuated more than 4,250 people in coastal towns and set up 58 shelters ahead of the dangerous storm.

The storm also battered the Islas Marias, a group of Mexican islands about 60 miles off the mainland that include a nature preserve and a federal prison.

Authorities declined to comment on precautions that were taken at the prison, citing security concerns, but said the safety of prisoners was a priority.

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