MEXICO CITY: Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded, barreled closer to the Pacific Coast of Mexico and is expected to hit the states of Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco on Friday.
Mexican authorities had evacuated more than 50,000 people from the three states by Friday afternoon and advised residents and tourists alike to leave the area.
President Enrique Peña Nieto has dispatched 5,000 soldiers, 4,000 sailors and 400 federal police officers to the area to coordinate evacuation and preparation efforts.
A massive deployment of doctors, paramedics, rescue workers, ambulances, all-terrain vehicles, cranes, and rescue equipment has also made its way to the states ahead of Patricia making landfall.
On Friday morning, Roberto Ramirez de la Parra, director of Mexico’s water commission, CONAGUA, said that winds of 325 kph had been measured 202 km off the coast of Manzanillo.
“Conagua’s National Meteorological Service has determined that no hurricane, in the history of the planet, has ever reached wind speeds of 325 kph,” said de la Parra.
He added that it is expected to make landfall on the coast of Jalisco, near the tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. local time on Friday evening.
Early Friday, the World Meteorological Organization announced that Patricia had been upgraded to a Category 5 storm, the highest possible rating, after having grown exponentially overnight.
The organization compared Patricia to Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013, killing over 6,300 people. PNA/Xinhua