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Mexico Braces for Potentially Catastrophic Hurricane Patricia

  • VOA Staff

This satellite image taken at 8:45 p.m. EDT on Oct. 22, 2015, and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows potentially catastrophic Hurricane Patricia, left, moving over Mexico's central Pacific Coast.

This satellite image taken at 8:45 p.m. EDT on Oct. 22, 2015, and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows potentially catastrophic Hurricane Patricia, left, moving over Mexico's central Pacific Coast.

People in southwestern Mexico are bracing for the arrival of potentially catastrophic Hurricane Patricia.

"Patricia is now the strongest ever hurricane to hit the eastern north Pacific region," Clare Nullism spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.

She added that "This is really, really, really strong. It's comparable with Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines with such devastating affect a couple of years ago," citing the latest information from the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

More than 6,300 people were killed after Haiyan made landfall in Tacloban city, Leyte province. The typhoon, which hit the island on Nov. 8, 2013, destroyed around 90 percent of the Taclooban.

This satellite image taken at 8:45 p.m. EDT on Oct. 22, 2015, and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Patricia, left, moving over Mexico's central Pacific Coast.

This satellite image taken at 8:45 p.m. EDT on Oct. 22, 2015, and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Patricia, left, moving over Mexico's central Pacific Coast.

Stocking up on non-perishables

Mexicans in the country's southwestern region stocked up on non-perishable items as they prepare to hunker down to face the powerful storm, expected to make landfall by Friday afternoon.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said fluctuations in the storm's intensity are possible Friday, but Patricia "is expected to remain an extremely dangerous Category 5 (strongest) hurricane through landfall."

Forecasters say the storm, which has maximum sustained winds of 325 kilometers per hour, is expected to produce 20 to 30 centimeters of rain with up to 50 centimeters of rain possible in some areas. The hurricane center says the rains could produce "life-threatening flash floods and mud slides."

People preparing for the arrival of hurricane Patricia board up a souvenir shop in the Pacific resort city of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015.

People preparing for the arrival of hurricane Patricia board up a souvenir shop in the Pacific resort city of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015.

Flash flood warning

Patricia is already generating swells affecting portions of Mexico's southern coast and will spread northwestward during the next day or two. The hurricane center says these swells "are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions."

Coastal residents from San Blas south to Lazaro Cardenas are being told to look out for life-threatening flash floods, mudslides and as much as 51 centimeters of rain in some parts.

The general director of Mexico's National Water Commission, Roberto Ramirez de la Parra, said Patricia will "very likely" become Mexico's "strongest ever" hurricane since the government began keeping records in 1949.

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