Hurricane Patricia, a category five storm moving east in the Pacific Ocean is expected hit landfall on Mexico’s west coast Friday evening, potentially causing catastrophic damage.
Patricia is now recorded as the most powerful tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, with maximum sustained winds at 320 km per hour. The hurricane will quite possibly be the worst weather event experienced in the history of mankind.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) October 23, 2015
As of 4 p.m. PST, the hurricane was just off the coast of Mexico and expected to make landfall between between Manzanillo and Cabo Corrientes. According to the National Hurricane Centre, it’s supposed to move quickly north-northeastward across western and northern Mexico after hitting land this evening.
Mexico’s entire state of Jalisco, including Puerto Vallarta and Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara, is in direct path of the storm.
Hotel resorts have been transformed into temporary shelters, while tourists and stranded residents seek a safe place. Heavy rain accumulating up to 12 inches, an “extremely dangerous” storm surge and large and destructive waves causing possible flooding is expected. Water spouts and tornadoes are also a possibility, according to Mexican authorities.
CNN reports that 1,780 shelters have been set up to serve over 240,000 people, including some 15,000 domestic and international tourists. The U.N. World Meteorological Organization says that Hurricane Patricia is currently coming close to surpassing the strength of Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines in 2013 and left 7,300 dead.
For context, the WMO reports that Patricia’s winds are literally strong enough “to get a plane in the air and keep it flying.” Sustained winds have been measured at 320 km per hour with gusts of up to 380 km per hour.
The storm is expected to pass through Mexico and weaken before it hits the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday.
A live stream of the storm is currently available from the resort community of Ixtapa:
#patricia @d5li5k @noray_valencia @xochitl201 A video posted by Gabby Sánchez (@gabysan21) on
#patricia#huracan#manzanillo#diosnosproteja! A photo posted by jesuseduardo vazquez (@eduardovazquez98) on