Category 3 Hurricane Willa Makes Landfall In Mexico Tonight - 500,000 Tourists In Path  

Category 3 Hurricane Willa is expected to make landfall in and around Mexico's Pacific Coast Tuesday evening with "life-threatening storm surge, wind, and rainfall," according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). 

Willa briefly sustained Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds on Monday, then weakened in the overnight to a Category 3, but still packs a significant punch with sustained winds around 125 mph. 

As of Tuesday morning, Willa passed through Las Islas Marias, an archipelago of four islands 60 miles offshore of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Willa is expected to make landfall near Isla del Bosque around or after 6 pm this evening, local time.

"An extremely dangerous storm surge is likely along portions of the coast of southwestern Mexico in southern Sinaloa and Nayarit, especially near and to the south of where the center of Willa makes landfall," the NHC said Tuesday. 

Hurricane warnings are posted from San Blas Mazatlan along the western Mexico coastline. Tropical storm warnings extend to surrounding areas, including Bahia Tempehuaya, Playa Perula, and Puerto Vallarta. 

Forecasters expect the storm to make landfall this evening just south of Mazatlan, a resort town with about 500,000 people mainly from U.S. and Canada, said The Washington Post

When Willa's core slams into the resort town this evening, there is a strong possibility that widespread tree damage, power outages, flooding, and structural damage could be seen.

The Weather Channel expects six to 12 inches of rain -- and at most 18 inches -- in and around landfall areas. The resort town has terrain that quickly transitions from beaches to mountains terrain, which has a high risk of flash flooding and landslides. 

Although Willa is less impressive since it reached peak intensity on Monday, it was the rapid intensification of the storm from Sunday to early Monday that caught many forecasters off guard. 

As for now, all eyes on the resort town where tens of thousands of Americans and Canadians are hunkering down before Willa makes landfall in the coming hours.

Here are social media users in various resort towns preparing for Willa this evening: