Hurricane Patricia has not yet made landfall but is already causing mass destruction. Reports of out central Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta are beginning to show Patricia’s potential.
Throughout the day, tourists have been fleeing while tens of thousands of people were being evacuated from Mexico’s coast. Officials said that 15,000 domestic and foreign tourists were evacuated from Puerto Vallarta.
While thousands upon thousands fled the area, loudspeakers blared along beach resorts for those remaining to evacuate as light rain and a breeze began to appear. Streets turned empty as police sirens wailed their warning.
Still being called the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, Patricia is expected to bore down on the region within the next hour. She’s expected to arrive packing sustained winds of 190 mph, down from the initial 200 mph measured earlier in the day. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the Category 5 hurricane will be “catastrophic”.
Airports at Puerto Vallarta and the port at Manzanillo were shut earlier today. Long lines of traffic stretched out of Puerto Vallarta as those evacuating make the 5-hour drive toward Guadalajara. Pemex service stations said they would stop selling gasoline in the hurricane-watch areas. CFE, the country’s electricity supplier, has carried out electrical shutdowns in Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit.
Both the National Hurricane Center and the World Meteorological Organization are comparing Patricia to Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 in the Philippines and destroyed nearly everything in its path.
Hurricane Patricia is so large the storm can be seen from space.
President Enrique Pena Nieto says Patricia will likely hit the coast between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. CTZ most likely between Puerto Vallarta and the port of Manzanillo. While he agrees it is difficult to predict what the hurricane will do, he did say, “One thing we’re certain of is that we’re facing a hurricane of a scale we’ve never ever seen”.
U.S. President Barack Obama said that the United States was standing by ready to help Mexico.
A Twitter post from Scott Kelly at the International Space Station showed a large, giant white storm blanketing a massive portion of the globe. His message read: “Stay safe below, Mexico.”