Hurricane Patricia- one of the strongest storms ever recorded strikes Mexico
Wind Speeds reach close to 200 mph in Category 5 Hurricane Patricia
Hurricane Patricia, one of the most powerful storms on record and quite possibly the biggest, struck Mexico’s Pacific coast on Friday, threatening to inflict catastrophic damage as emergency teams scrambled to evacuate thousands of people from homes and popular beach resorts.
Blowing winds of almost 165 miles per hour (266 km/h), the Category 5 hurricane had western Mexico on high alert, including Puerto Vallarta and smaller resorts along the coast. Driving rains sparked flash flooding and tourists piled into makeshift dormitories to avoid Patricia, compared by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to Typhoon Haiyan, which killed thousands of people in the Philippines in 2013.
In Puerto Vallarta, the heart of a string of resorts that range from low-end mega hotels to exclusive villas attracting tech billionaires and pop stars, loudspeakers had blared orders to evacuate hotels ahead of Patricia’s arrival.
The streets emptied as police sirens wailed.U.S. weather experts said Patricia was the strongest storm yet registered in the Western Hemisphere, and said the unprecedented hurricane could have a catastrophic impact.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said it was hard to predict what damage would be done by the massive storm, which could be seen barreling into Mexico from outer space.
“But one thing we’re certain of is that we’re facing a hurricane of a scale we’ve never ever seen,” he said.
Roberto Ramirez, head of Mexico’s federal water agency, said Hurricane Patricia was so strong it could possibly cross the country and head over the Gulf of Mexico to the United States.
Writing from 249 miles (401 km) above Earth on the International Space Station, US astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted an imposing image of the giant storm, blanketing a significant portion of the globe in white cloud, along with the message: “Stay safe below, Mexico.”
“If you are in the hurricane warning area, make preparations immediately to protect life and property,” the US Embassy in Mexico. Local schools closed on Friday and some business owners rushed to board and tape up windows. The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) said it was carrying out electricity shutdowns in the states of Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit.