They're boarding up and bracing for the worst in Puerto Vallarta, as life-threatening Hurricane Willa moves ever closer from over the Pacific Ocean.
The Category 4 hurricane, with winds of 130 miles per hour, is expected to hit Southwest Mexico Tuesday afternoon… (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LOCAL RESIDENT AND SHOP OWNER, ABEL RAMIREZ, SAYING: "We getting ready for the storm surge more than anything.
[JOURNALIST ASKING: Are people scared?] Of course.
They're scared and preparing." Thousands of people have been evacuated... but hopes are high.
SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) RESIDENT AND RETIRED SCHOOL TEACHER, SOCORRO GARIBALDI, SAYING: "People are getting ready now.
Just like when (Hurricane) Patricia was coming (in 2015).
They alerted everyone, and everyone got ready and fortunately it (Hurricane Patricia) never came.
We're hoping for the same tactics.
For everyone to get ready so that it won't come." Forecast to be one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the Pacific Coast of Mexico in recent years, Willa is expected to strike some of the country's most popular tourist destinations..
Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Nayarit, all lying in Willa's path.
Up to 18 inches of rain are forecast...with community leaders also warning of widespread power outages and destruction.