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Strongest hurricane ever recorded, makes landfall in Mexico

Roaring waves, cyclonic winds and heavy rains battered Mexico’s Pacific coast Friday as Patricia — the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere — made landfall.

The massive Category 5 storm, with sustained winds of up to 165 mph, slammed into the country’s southwestern coast at 6:15 p.m., according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

While many had evacuated the region, others boarded up their homes and stocked up on supplies as they rode out the “potentially catastrophic” winds and floods.

There were early reports of some flooding and landslides, but no word of fatalities or major damage as the storm moved over inland mountains after nightfall.

A pregnant woman and her child nap as they wait out Hurricane Patricia inside a shelter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.Cesar Rodriguez/AP

A pregnant woman and her child nap as they wait out Hurricane Patricia inside a shelter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Women, children and senior citizens receive meals at a shelter set up in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Friday evening.Cesar Rodriguez/AP

Women, children and senior citizens receive meals at a shelter set up in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Friday evening.

A truck drives along a flooded street in Manzanillo, Colima state, Mexico, during Hurricane Patricia.JONATHAN LEVINSON/AFP/Getty Images

A truck drives along a flooded street in Manzanillo, Colima state, Mexico, during Hurricane Patricia.

Ulises Ruiz Basurto/EPA

Worried shoppers grab emergency food supplies at a supermarket in Puerto Vallarta before the hurricane hits.

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“The winds are really strong. It’s amazing, even the cars are moving,” said Laura Barajas, a 30-year-old hotel worker from the major cargo port of Manzanillo.

Earlier, about 90 people hunkered down in a Red Cross shelter in Puerto Vallarta as rain began to pound the roof a little after 3 p.m. The group included senior citizens in wheelchairs and young children snuggled between parents on mattresses laid out on the floor.

Carla Torres and her family sought refuge there in the afternoon, fearful of what Patricia might do to her home, sitting just two blocks from a river, in an area vulnerable to high winds.

“Here we are with those who can give us help,” Torres said.

Patricia is the strongest recorded storm in the eastern Pacific and stronger than any Atlantic storms ever, Dave Roberts of the hurricane center said.

It is expected to bring 6 to 12 inches of rain, with up to 20 inches in some areas, and could trigger waves as high as 40 feet.

OCT 22, 2015 PHOTOCesar Rodriguez/AP

People preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia break down their souvenir shop in the Pacific resort city Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

An employee of a car rental company tapes up a glass door as he prepares for Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.HENRY ROMERO/REUTERS

An employee of a car rental company tapes up a glass door as he prepares for Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

People preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia board up a souvenir shop in the Pacific resort city Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.Cesar Rodriguez/AP

People preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia board up a souvenir shop in the Pacific resort city Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Men fill small bags with sand from the beach as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Men fill small bags with sand from the beach as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Patricia in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

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A state of emergency was declared throughout Mexico, including in Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco. There are more than 7.3 million inhabitants in Jalisco, according to the 2010 Census. Schools were closed in Colima, where there are 650,000 residents.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said American authorities are closely monitoring the path of Patricia and its potential impact on the U.S. citizens who live in the affected area. Toner estimated Friday that tens of thousands of Americans are believed to live or be vacationing in the area likely to be affected by the storm.

The frighteningly large storm, which was packing winds of more than 200 mph as it churned toward shore, may be strong enough to lift cars and destroy homes with weak foundations, according to Roberto Ramirez, the director of Mexico’s National Water Commission.

As the eye of the storm made landfall, about 55 miles northwest of the port city of Manzanillo, winds weakened only slightly to 165 mph.

The hurricane center said the storm was expected to produce deadly rip currents and “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.”

“Some fluctuations in intensity are possible today, but Patricia is expected to remain an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane through landfall,” a warning issued Friday said.

The sheer power of Patricia has drawn comparisons to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which left more than 7,300 dead or missing in the Philippines.

Although the storm is projected to weaken significantly as it crests over a mountainous region inland, it is still expected to wreak havoc on weather systems throughout the region.

Remnants of the record storm will likely lead to more rainfall in Texas, which is already getting soaked from other storms.

“It’s only going to make a bad situation worse,” Dennis Feltgen of the hurricane center said.

With News Wire Services 

dboroff@nydailynews.com

Tags:
mexico ,
hurricane patricia

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Nation / World – NY Daily News

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