Although Yucatan is not in the path, Mexico’s Pacific coast is in the crosshairs of Hurricane Patricia, which became the most powerful tropical cyclone ever measured in the Western Hemisphere on Friday Oct. 23 as its maximum sustained winds reached an unprecedented 200 mph (320 kph).
The hurricane is forecast to make landfall in the Mexican state of Jalisco Friday evening as a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane capable of causing widespread destruction. Residents and authorities in Mexico are rushing to prepare for what will likely be the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall on that country’s Pacific coastline.
Mexican authorities declared a state of emergency and warned residents to prepare as Patricia approached the coast. The state of emergency was issued for 56 municipalities projected to face Patricia’s wrath, the Associated Press reported. The municipalities are located in Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco states.
The hurricane, which exploded to Cat. 5 strength with winds of at least 200 mph, is forecast to make landfall along Mexico’s Pacific coast Friday, bringing damaging winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge flooding.
Evacuations are underway in areas expected to be hit hardest by Patricia. According to Vallarta Daily, as many as 50,000 people wil be moved away from the coast and into shelters in Vallarta-Nayarit area by Friday afternoon.
Mexican authorities declared a state of emergency and warned residents to prepare as Patricia approached the coast. The state of emergency was issued for 56 municipalities who are projected to face Patricia’s wrath, the Associated Press reported. The municipalities are located in Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco states.
At 4 a.m. CDT, the eye of Hurricane Patricia was about 145 miles (255 kilometers) southwest of Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico, and was moving north-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).
In addition to its unprecedented 200-mph (320-kph) sustained winds, Hurricane Patricia now holds the record for lowest pressure in any hurricane on record. With a minimum central pressure of 880 millibars (25.99 inches of mercury) at the 4 a.m. CDT advisory, Patricia broke the record of 882 millibars set by Wilma almost exactly 10 years ago.
The eye of Patricia is expected to move onshore Friday night in the Mexican state of Jalisco, which includes the popular coastal resort city of Puerto Vallarta as well as the inland metropolis of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city.
The adjoining states of Colima and Nayarit will also feel the effects of Hurricane Patricia, which in addition to catastrophic winds will also bring a formidable flood threat. Depending on the exact track of Patricia’s eye, the resort city of Manzanillo may experience destructive winds, and is very likely to see flooding rainfall, dangerous storm surge and large, battering ocean waves breaking onshore.
While the resort area of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo may see heavy rainfall associated with Patricia, there are no watches or warnings for tropical storm or hurricane conditions there. Acapulco is also not under any watches or warnings for Patricia.
With Patricia less than 24 hours away from landfall, this is the first time a Category 5 hurricane has posed an imminent threat to land in North America since Hurricane Felix approached Nicaragua in September 2007.
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