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Mexico Braces for Monster Hurricane Patricia

Mexico Braces for Monster Hurricane Patricia

Friday, 23 October 2015 10:53 AM

Monster Hurricane Patricia rumbled toward Mexico's Pacific coast on Friday, growing into the strongest storm on record in the Western Hemisphere as the country braced for a potential catastrophe.

Authorities relocated some villagers, closed ports and schools, and urged tourists to cancel trips as the hurricane headed toward landfall in the western state of Jalisco later Friday.

"It's a devastating hurricane, the biggest since we can record hurricanes, and this is why we have to take extreme precautions," Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told Radio Formula.

Rain pelted the coast after Patricia mushroomed late Thursday into a Category Five storm -- the top of the Saffir-Simpson scale -- with maximum sustained winds of 325 kilometers (200 miles) per hour, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

The center said on its website that Patricia was "the strongest hurricane on record in the National Hurricane Center's area of responsibility which includes the Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific."

"Some fluctuations in intensity are possible today but Patricia is expected to remain an extremely dangerous category five hurricane through landfall," the center said in a bulletin issued at 1200 GMT.

"An extremely dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding near and to the right of where the center makes landfall," the Miami-based center added.

Forecasts show that Patricia will make landfall somewhere between the major port of Manzanillo in Colima state and Jalisco state's tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta, which Mexican officials fear could face a direct hit.

Some businesses boarded up their store windows in Manzanillo as rain began to fall in the city.

"Better to be safe than sorry. Hurricanes are unpredictable," said Enrique Esparza, manager of El Gran Mueble furniture store, which is near the seafront.

Rosa Elba Figueroa, a housewife, left a supermarket with a bag full of canned tuna, powdered milk, bread, water and batteries.

"We're running home to put wood and tape on the windows," she said late Thursday.

Jose Maria Tapia Franco, director of the National Disaster Fund, said 400,000 people live in vulnerable areas and that local authorities will decide whether to conduct evacuations.

At the beach village of Boca de Pascuales, authorities took 70 people to a shelter while another 30 drove to the homes of relatives further inland.

"We are patrolling communities on the coast in the Puerto Vallarta area as well as Melaque and La Huerta, urging the most vulnerable population to get to safety," Jalisco civil protection director Jose Trinidad Lopez Rivas told Foro television.

In Colima, communities around the Volcano of Fire were evacuated over concerns that ash that accumulated during recent volcanic activity could combine with water to produce landslides.

 

 

Mexican officials closed schools in Jalisco, Colima and Guerrero states.

The water level in two dams in Jalisco and Michoacan were lowered to prevent flooding.

Ports closed to small boats in several ports in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Michoacan, Guerrero and Oaxaca. The port of Acapulco in Guerrero was shut for larger ships.

At 1200 GMT, Patricia was 235 kilometers (145 miles) south of Manzanillo and moving north-northwest at 19 kilometers per hour, according to the US forecasters.

Patricia is expected to produce up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rainfall over the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero, which could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, the US center said.

The Mexican water commission warned that rivers could rise and roads could be affected by the bad weather.

 

 

Officials said nearly 1,800 shelters for 259,000 people are available.

Jalisco, Michoacan, Colima and Nayarit are expected to get the equivalent of 40 percent of their annual rainfall in the next 48 hours, the National Water Commission said.

Mexico faces the double threat of Atlantic and Pacific tropical storms during the hurricane season, which ends November 30.

In 2013, twin storms Ingrid and Manuel nearly simultaneously struck each coast, leaving 157 people dead in a rare double onslaught.

 

 

© AFP 2019

   
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Monster Hurricane Patricia rumbled toward Mexico's Pacific coast on Friday, growing into the strongest storm on record in the Western Hemisphere as the country braced for a potential catastrophe.Authorities relocated some villagers, closed ports and schools, and urged...
Mexico, weather, storm
656
2015-53-23
Friday, 23 October 2015 10:53 AM
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