Thousands of people are evacuating the Pacific coast of Mexico Friday as Hurricane Patricia, the strongest ever recorded hurricane in the Western Hemisphere is bearing down on Puerto Vallarta the popular tourist region packing 200 mph sustained winds.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami predicted the hurricane would make catastrophic landfall as a category 5 storm later on Friday.
The storm was described by the hurricane center as the most powerful record in the eastern Pacific or Atlantic. The center warned about overpowering winds, torrential rains, flash flooding and a storm surge that could be destructive and very dangerous.
The National Water Commission director in Mexico said that the hurricane is strong enough to lift autos, destroy the homes that are not well built and drag people along who are caught outside at the time it strikes.
Roberto Ramirez the Commission’s director said that the people who are most in danger from this storm would be those along the coast and especially those in Jalisco state, which has a 7.3 million population.
As of early Friday morning, Hurricane Patricia was just 145 miles southwest of Manzanillo moving north-northwest at just 12 miles per hour.
Over 50,000 people are hoping to be evacuated ahead of the arrival of the storm.
Puerto Vallarta has 18 shelters for the hurricane to house different evacuees. Some of the businesses in the tourist Mecca had already boarded up their windows last Thursday.
The metro population of Puerto Vallarta is 380,000 with a large community of expatriates from Canada and the U.S.
Patricia is expected to hit an area called Costa Alegre between Puerto Vallarta to the north and Manzanillo to the south, where many locals have said it has been eerily calm.
The area is used to hurricanes but none that have reached category 5. Some expats interviewed have said they would ride the storm out in a small town popular with foreigners called La Manzanilla.
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