Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Elisha Fieldstadt, Rima Abdelkader and Alex Johnson

Hurricane Willa charged toward Mexico as an "extremely dangerous" category 4 storm on Monday night and was gaining speed as it approached the western coast, forecasters said.

"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion," the National Hurricane Center warned residents on Mexico's coast between San Blas and Mazatlán.

The storm, with maximum sustained winds near 150 mph, could weaken slightly before it makes landfall along Mexico's west-central coast Tuesday afternoon or evening, but not enough to abate its danger, the hurricane center said.

Tannin Pease of Roy, Utah, who arrived in Mazatlán on vacation with his family last week, said he wasn't reassured that he and his family would be able to fly home on Wednesday.

"We just stocked up on some water, snacks in case the power goes out," Pease said in an interview.

"We’ve never experienced a hurricane living in Utah, so there's a bit of excitement mixed with a scare," he said.

"Our resort has tarps in front of all of their windows, and they took down all of the hanging lights and all of the pool chairs and umbrellas and things and have put them in storage until it passes."