The Mexican government has declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Patricia, being called the strongest storm measured in the Western Hemisphere, takes aim for Mexico’s Pacific Coast.
As of Friday morning, Hurricane Patricia has sustained winds reaching 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.
The National Hurricane Center says the storm is capable of causing widespread destruction. They report that as of 4:00 a.m. CDT, the eye of the hurricane was about 16 miles (255 kilometers) south-southwest of Manzanillo, moving north-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).
In addition to unimaginable winds, Hurricane Patricia now holds the record for lowest pressure in any hurricane on record, breaking Hurricane Wilma’s record from 10 years ago.
Weather experts are warning that the storm could easily bring with it 39-foot waves along Mexico’s Pacific Coast with life-threatening flash flooding. The National Hurricane Center said Patricia is expected to produce deadly rip currents. NBC News meteorologist, Bill Karins, warned that Patricia would be “the most devastating storm to ever hit Mexico” with “catastrophic damage” likely between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo.
Hurricane warnings stretched from San Blas to Punta San Telmo, an area that includes Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. Up to 20 inches of rain was predicted for the Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero through Saturday, the NHC said.
Those living along the coastline have been told to prepare for the “worst-case scenario” for her arrival sometime late Friday afternoon or early Friday evening. 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.
The NHC said Hurricane Patricia became the strongest Pacific hurricane on record shortly after midnight CDT Friday.